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e Syrian army and allied troops have laid siege to the rebel held enclave in Deraa. Rebels there say the government forces poised to gain complete control of the southeastern city. A spokesman for the opposition group in Deraa told Reuters that several thousand people are encircled. On Sunday the Syrian Army released this footage of tanks and ground units advancing into built up areas.
Now the return of Daraa to President Bashar al-Assad’s complete control would be a big psychological blow to the rebels. The city epitomized the early peaceful protests against Assad in 2011. Those spread across Syria only be violently crushed. The crackdown paved the way for the country's bloody civil war.
On Monday state media made no mention of the siege of Daraa but said the army was spreading out along border areas with Jordan. That has worried Israel who threatened Syria with a, quote, harsh response if it deploys near its Golan Heights frontier zone. The area, which borders on Southern Syria, was demilitarized under a 44-year old UN monitored truce.
Israel worries that Syria's president could let its enemies, Iran and Hezbollah, move forces into the area, giving them a foothold near its border. Tehran and the Lebanese group both back Assad in the conflict.