Photo taken from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on July 20, 2018 shows that Syrian rebels and civilians evacuate from Syria's southern province of Quneitra. A deal was reached Thursday for the entry of the Syrian army to all rebel-held areas in the southern province of Quneitra near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, state news agency SANA reported. (Xinhua/JINI/Ayal Margolin)
DAMASCUS, July 19 (Xinhua) -- A deal was reached Thursday for the entry of the Syrian army to all rebel-held areas in the southern province of Quneitra near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, state news agency SANA reported.
According to the deal, which is backed by Russia, the Syrian army will enter all of the areas that had been controlled by the government before 2011, the year of the Syrian war, said SANA.
It said the rebels will surrender their weapons. Those who reject to reconcile with the government will evacuate to rebel-held areas in northern Syria; others who want to stay will embark on a reconciliation process with the government.
The deal will see the entire Quneitra province near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights back under the government control.
This new deal comes just days after U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki, Russia discussing the situation in Syria, mainly in the southern region near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Putin highlighted the need to defeat terrorists in southwestern Syria while keeping the forces of Syria and Israel separated.
He referred specifically to the treaty of 1974 that ended the Yom Kippur war and designated the lines of separation between Israel and Syria.
The current deal also comes after the Syrian army has been on a month-long offensive in southern Syria, mainly in the southern province of Daraa, Quneitra, and Sweida.
The army has already captured large swathes of Daraa, with activists saying 90 percent of the province turns back to the government control.
The army was also advancing in the countryside of Quneitra in a bid to lay a siege on areas controlled by the Islamic State (IS) in Daraa near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.