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Daraa province slowly falls into Syrian rebel hands

A string of victories by Syrian rebels in the country’s south has taken the Syrian army by surprise, with the Daraa governorate almost completely in the hands of rebel groups.
Free Syrian Army fighters take positions in Deraa during what they said an offensive to liberate the checkpoint No. 41, a border point with Jordan, June 14, 2013. Picture taken June 14, 2013. REUTERS/Ali Abu Salah/Shaam News Network/Handout via Reuters (SYRIA - Tags: CONFLICT) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAM

DAMASCUS, Syria — Syrian rebels declared their control over the city of Nawa in the western countryside of Daraa — 85 kilometers (53 miles) south of Damascus and only 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the border with Israel — on Nov. 9, after battles began Nov. 1 against the regime’s forces in the region. The fighting ended with the “liberation” of areas formerly controlled by the Syrian army, taken during the “Demolition of the Wall,” a rebel operation that brought down the army’s first line of defense of the capital against attack from the south.

Rebel fighters were able to break the regime siege of the town of al-Shaykh Maskin, near Daraa, on Nov. 6. They penetrated the town through battles that led to the fall of Brigade 82, one of the Syrian army’s largest military bases. Rebels then broke into the town and opened the road between al-Shaykh Maskin and the city of Nawa on Nov. 6. This was how rebel fighters were able to cut the supply routes of the Syrian army and lay siege to its positions, which accelerated their total control over the area.

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