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Syrian army secures borders in the triangle of ground zero

China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-10 07:36

DARAA, Syria - The official Syrian flag is again fluttering at ground zero, a triangle of Syrian territory slicing between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

During a trip for media outlets to the southern province of Daraa on Wednesday, reporters were taken to area, otherwise known as the Island, or Triangle.

This triangle is located in the far western countryside of Daraa, the birthplace of the Syrian war, which was recently recaptured by the army.

It is high ground with a Syrian flag raised at its entrance. Turning right, an Israeli observatory is spotted from a distance on the Golan Heights; to the other side, the Jordanian territories can be seen.

During the crisis, the Syrian army almost lost all border points, except for a crossing with Lebanon.

Important victory

The Syrian government has repeatedly charged that weapons, munition, and fighters were being smuggled into the country from the loose border points that had fallen to the rebels.

During a wide-scale campaign that started in late June in Daraa and nearby rebel-held areas, the Syrian government forces have succeeded in restoring all border points with Jordan and were also deployed along the separation line with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The Golan Heights is a basaltic plateau spanning about 1,800 square kilometers captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.

The Daraa achievement is considered an important victory for the Syrian army and a key step toward ending the war, as when the borders are controlled, the country becomes safer.

Capturing the borders also indicates that the Syrian army is gaining the upper hand in the conflict, after almost securing the southern region save for a few pockets controlled by the Islamic State group in the eastern countryside of Sweida province.

Back at ground zero, the Syrian soldiers were seen standing guard looking both ways to Jordan and the Israeli-occupied territories.

A Syrian officer said, without giving his name, that the achievement is part of a greater goal that the army is working to achieve.

"The importance of this achievement emanates from the greater goal of liberating all Syrian areas and restoring the historic right of the Syrian army to capture the occupied territories," he said.

The officer reiterated the importance of ground zero, saying "this area is considered as ground zero as it is the link between the territories of Syria, Jordan and the Golan Heights".

The Russian-backed reconciliation deals went hand in hand with the large-scale campaign in Daraa and Quneitra.

Those deals allow the rebels, who refuse to reconcile, to leave for rebel-held areas in northern Syria while granting amnesty to others who hand over their heavy weapons and embark on the reconciliation process.

Some reports said the Russian side has given the rebels who want to reconcile a six-month period to settle their situation and complete the reconciliation process with the government forces.

Now, the Syrian army is fighting the IS group in the desert region in the eastern countryside of Sweida, making progress in the fight against the remaining IS pockets in the area.

Xinhua

(China Daily 08/10/2018 page11)

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