Rebel leader in S. Syria reports a ceasefire deal with the Russians

After weeks of taking heavy bombardment, a spokesman for the rebels’ joint operations room was quoted Friday as announcing that a ceasefire deal had been reached with Russian negotiators. He said the rebels agreed to gradually hand over their heavy weapons to the Russian police; the Syrian army would pull out of some captured villages in the Daraa region and Russian police would deploy along the Syrian-Jordanian border and take charge of the key Nassib border crossing.

There is no Syrian or Russian confirmation of this report. But a short time later, a convoy of 10 army trucks with Russian and Syrian flags was seen entering Nassib. DEBKAfile: This deal if confirmed would approximate the de-escalation zones plan approved by Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin last year for Daraa and Quneitra. It would also be a reversal of the acclaimed objective of the latest Russian-Syrian offensive which was to restore these regions to direct Syrian military control.

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