There is a relative calm in southern Syria in the wake of the July 7 US-Russian-brokered cease-fire agreement backed by Jordan. The deal came against the backdrop of increased clashes between pro-regime militias and the Syrian opposition, as well as escalating strikes by Israel on Iranian interests in the region. Yet the cease-fire will be difficult to hold in the long run given the strategic importance southern Syria holds for Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah. Such local dynamics mean that the possibility of a future showdown between Hezbollah and Israel is increasingly strong in southern Syria — more than in nearby Lebanon, Hezbollah’s bastion.
Russian troops in charge of monitoring the cease-fire appear to have deployed on July 17 in the Daraa province, according to Syrian Masdar News. The recent US-Russian deal included establishing de-escalation zones along Syria’s borders with both Jordan and Israel.