JABER AS-SARHAN, Jordan - Syrian government forces recaptured a vital border crossing with Jordan on Friday and raised the national flag for the first time in years, restoring sovereignty over a key region and potentially reopening a gateway for Syrian exports to Arab countries.
Weakened by a crushing government offensive backed by Russia and abandoned by their U.S. allies, rebels in southern Syria found themselves compelled to accept yet another humiliating surrender deal that would see opposition fighters transported by buses to areas held by rebels in the country’s north.
The capture of the Naseeb border crossing came hours after the rebels announced they had reached an agreement with Russian mediators to end the violence in Daraa province and surrender the crossing.
It marks the return of President Bashar Assad’s forces to the province where the uprising against him began seven years ago, following successive military victories across most of the country with the help of powerful allies Russia and Iran.
It also underscores America’s remarkable declining role and influence in Syria.
“What is happening in southern Syria is a big achievement for the Syrian army and its allies and a resounding defeat for America, Israel and their allies,” said an official of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia, Ali Daamoush, during a Friday prayers sermon in Beirut.