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Violence in southern Syria amid negotiations for a deal

Violence in southern Syria amid negotiations for a deal
The Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government forces are pressing their offensive in the country’s south under the cover of airstrikes as rebels say Russia — Syria’s ally — has put forward conditions to end the violence that are hard to accept.

Syrian state media said more areas in Daraa province were captured Saturday and in others rebels agreed to hand over their weapons and reconcile with the government.

Ibrahim Jabawi, spokesman for the rebels’ joint operations room, said the insurgents have set up a delegation that met with Russian officials Friday and another meeting is scheduled for Saturday.

Jabawi said Russia, a strong ally of President Bashar Assad’s government, wants rebels to hand over their weapons in a step that would be followed by the return of government forces to rebel-held areas.

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