Assad forces set to take city where war began

Syrian rebels agreed to give up the strategic Nassib border crossing under the terms of a truce deal

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the explosion hit Zaizun, a village in the western countryside of Daraa province which rebels agreed in recent days to hand over to regime control.

In a series of posts in Telegram on 10 July the Islamic State's sources reported that up to 5 Russian soldiers died during a suicide attack.

"At least 27 regime forces and allied fighters, including eight officers, were killed in fierce clashes and shelling in the village of al-Ateira", said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

In retaliation, the government and its ally Russian Federation pounded rebel-held areas in the coastal province of Latakia and neighbouring Idlib on Tuesday, killing four civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Abdel Rahman said it was likely that this faction was responsible for the attack, adding it was the first suicide bombing targeting regime forces since they launched an offensive on Daraa.

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut in neighbouring Lebanon, said the rebel-controlled part of the divided city of Deraa is surrounded by government troops with a few thousand people trapped inside, including fighters and their families.

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Russian Federation began providing direct military assistance to government forces in late 2015 after the Syrian government asked for help in its nationwide fight against hardline Islamist terrorists.

The regime is now in control of around 80 percent of Daraa province, while rebels hold around 15%, according to the Observatory.

"After finishing off rebel forces in the south, the regime is expected to attack the last pocket held by the IS affiliate there", said Abdel Rahman.

The rebel attack came as the opposition in Syria's south has crumbled in the face of a pro-government assault, the latest rebel area to fall back under Damascus' rule.

A committee of the German Bundestag headed by Die Linke politician Alexander Neu found Russia's military presence in Syria to be "considered permissible in worldwide law" as the Syrian government requested assistance from Moscow, the ARD public broadcaster's Tagesschau news service reported on Tuesday.

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