The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has eased its siege on the town of Umm Batnah in al-Quneitra amid ongoing talks with the locals to reach a reconciliation agreement, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on May 2.
According to the London-based monitoring group, the SAA allowed the locals to leave and enter Umm Batnah as they wish. However, army units are still surrounding the town.
The SAA laid a siege on Umm Batnah on May 1 in response to an attack that targeted one of its checkpoints near the town. The army wants to expel all militants from the town to opposition-held areas in the northern region.
Former rebels in Daraa reacted to the crisis in Umm Batnah by threatening government forces. A protest in support of the town’s militants was also held in Daraa city. Most of the protesters were armed.
A new round of talks between the SAA and the Umm Batnah local will be held in three days. Both sides want to resolve the crisis peacefully.
Umm Batnah’s crisis highlights lawlessness in southern Syria. Vast parts of the region are under the de-facto control of local militants and former rebels, who provoke government forces on a regular basis.
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