The Latest: Syrian troops raise national flag over Daraa
BEIRUT — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
Syrian state TV says the government has raised the national flag over Daraa, the south Syrian city that was the cradle of the 2011 revolt against President Bashar Assad’s rule.
The al-Ikhbariya TV station is broadcasting footage of officials raising the government’s three-star flag over the rubble of the city after rebels agreed to give up the town earlier Thursday.
Daraa has suffered catastrophic damage as one of the cities at the center of Syria’s seven-year-long civil war. At least 400,000 people have been killed and 11 million people displaced in the fighting between the government, rebels, and the Islamic State group.
Syrian activists and state media say rebels have agreed to surrender Daraa, the first city to revolt against President Bashar Assad with Arab Spring-inspired protests seven years ago, to government forces.
Ahmad Masalmeh, a media activist formerly based in the southern city, says fighters have the option of accepting an offer of amnesty from the government, or leaving Daraa with their families to other rebel-held parts of the country. Masalmeh says he left Daraa for Jordan four days ago. He spoke to the Associated Press by Skype.
Daraa governor Mohamad al-Hanous says government forces are in control of 80 percent of the city, according to the government-linked Central Military Media outlet.
Syrian state media reported late Tuesday that rebels in Daraa had agreed to surrender their heavy and medium weapons.