Syria, Hizballah declare 48-hour ceasefire in Daraa for lack of progress

The Syrian army said it would suspend combat operations against rebels in the southern city of Deraa for 48 hours from noon Saturday to noon Monday, in order to “support reconciliation efforts.”

DEBKAfile’s military sources: Although the joint Syrian army-Hizballah force pounded rebel positions in the town for two weeks, they were unable to break rebel resistance and capture the town. They dropped 712 explosive barrels from helicopters and 450 rockets in 166 air sorties; on the ground, the Syrian army’s crack 4th armored division and Hizballah’s al-Qaim commando brigade engaged the rebels in vicious combat.  Military sources say that the assault force missed its objective because it fought without Russian air cover, demonstrating that Russian military intervention is indispensible to the success of any Syrian-Hizballah operation

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