On July 7, a source familiar with the situation in southern Syria told the Syrian news outlet Enab Baladi that Russia warned the Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups in the western Daraa countryside that they will face a military operation if they don’t accept an evacuation agreement.
Following the Russian warning, FSA groups representing the towns of Inkhil, Jasim, al-Harrah, Nawa and Namar joined the negotiation with Russia, according to the pro-opposition news outlet.
A day earlier, FSA commanders in eastern Daraa accepted an evacuation agreement that covers all the militants-held areas in the southern governorates of Daraa and al-Quneitra. However, several commanders of the FSA in the western Daraa countryside and al-Quneitra rejected the agreement.
The militants-held areas in the western Daraa countryside and al-Quneitra are a stronghold of the former branch of al-Qaeda, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). According to Syrian pro-government activists, hundreds of radical fighters are stationed there, mainly along the separation line with Israel.
The failure of the ongoing negotiation will likely force Russia and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to launch a large offensive in western Daraa against the FSA and HTS. A similar offensive forced the militants in eastern Daraa to surrender.