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Syrian opposition launches assault on Daraa city

While the opposition now controls most of Daraa province, they have thus far failed to take Daraa city from government troops
Syrian opposition fighter with the so-called Southern Front rebel group in Daraa (MEE / Abo Bakr al-Hajj Ali)

A rebel alliance, including al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate al-Nusra Front, attacked government-held parts of the southern city of Daraa on Thursday, a monitoring group said.

The alliance, also involving Ahrar al-Sham, bombarded government positions with mortar and artillery fire, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

However, sources on the ground told Middle East Eye that the attack was implemented by the Southern Front coalition.

"The operation, led by Sharif Mahameed, was corrdinated and executed by the Souther Front," the source said. "Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham were barely involved in today's attacks."

Syria's official SANA news agency said "terrorists hit neighbourhoods of Daraa city with mortar rounds and gas canister bombs," adding that there were reports of casualties.

"Army units foiled attempts by terrorist groups to attack several military positions in Daraa province destroying several armoured vehicles and killing dozens of terrorists," state television said.

It made no mention of fighting inside Daraa city, parts of which are already under opposition control.

Around 70 percent of Daraa province is under the control of rebel groups, who have made several advances in the region in recent weeks.

In early June, rebels from the Southern Front coalition seized the 52nd Brigade base and advanced to the border between Daraa and Sweida, a mainly Druze province to the east which is largely government-controlled.

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