Syria suffers surge in violence as shelling rocks Idlib and Daraa

Regime forces strike rebel groups in Idlib and Daraa provinces

Syrian rebel-fighters from the National Liberation Front (NLF) secure a tank, part of heavy weapons and equipment withdrawn yesterday from a planned buffer zone around Idlib in one of the group's rear positions in a rebel-held area in the southwestern Syrian province on October 9, 2018. The zone is stipulated in a deal by regime ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey to set up a U-shaped buffer zone around Syria's opposition stronghold of Idlib to avert a massive government assault on the area, which would put several million people at risk. The  horseshoe-shaped buffer will separate opposition and government forces and is meant to be free of both heavy weapons and jihadists by October 15.  / AFP / OMAR HAJ KADOUR
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Syria is in the grip of some of its worst violence in years, with military activity surging in the southern region of Daraa, bordering Jordan, and shelling reported in the rebel-held province of Idlib in the north-east.

One person was killed in government shelling in Daraa's southern town of Tafas Daraa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Sporadic clashes began on Tuesday, local media reported, after regime forces advanced on farms in the area.

Activists said a civilian was killed in the shelling while some local media reported the deceased as a member of a rebel group fighting the government.

Local outlet Daraa24 said civilians were also killed as a result of government shelling on outlying rural areas, with a renewed regime offensive expected in the area.

Once the scene of some of the heaviest fighting of the war, Daraa has faced a simmering insurgency in recent years, with small cells of rebels in the area launching hit-and-run attacks against government forces and planting roadside bombs.

Intense fighting during the country’s 12-year-long civil war died down in the area after a 2021 agreement was reached by Damascus and rebel groups.

Under the deal, many surrendered their weapons and moved with their families to rebel-held areas in the north, mainly Idlib.

Clashes were also reported in Saraqib, in a rural part of Idlib province, where regime forces fired at the Hayat Tahrir Al Sham militant group.

At least 13 people were killed in government shelling in Idlib last month.

Idlib is dominated by militant groups while large stretches of Syria’s border with Turkey are controlled by Turkish-backed militias.

The conflict in the north of the country has simmered for years, with neither side strong enough to take control of the terrain.

Updated: July 06, 2023, 11:28 AM