DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:20 A.M.) – On Thursday, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) increased its sorties over the embattled city of Daraa, targeting the southern and eastern neighborhoods that remain under opposition control.

Earlier in the day, rebel forces and a government delegation tried in vain to negotiate a large-scale truce deal for the provincial capital; however, these attempts proved fruitless as Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) commanders failed to comply.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Republican Guard source told Al-Masdar News: “Battles are still ongoing; we have not yet received any orders to implement a ceasefire. But we do know that Russia is attempting to conclude a reconciliation deal in Daraa”.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) – spearheaded by Colonel Ghayath Galla and his seasoned 4th Mechanized Division – resumed their counter-insurgency operations in the Daraa Camp refugee area and Al-Manshiyah district.

With the SAA now enjoying superior weaponry and manpower, government forces hope to bring Daraa city under full government control before the end of the year.

Last month, the 4th Mechanized Division was transferred from Damascus to Daraa to deal with a monthlong crisis that saw rebel forces, led by HTS and Free Syrian Army factions, gradually gain ground in the Al-Manshiyah neighborhood.

Daraa carries huge symbolism for the Syrian Opposition as it was the first city in the country to witness anti-government protests back in 2011.

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