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As Damascus regained more ground under Russian-brokered deals, a string of insurgent-held areas came under regime control on Sunday, according to a group monitoring the conflict in Syria.

Insurgents, local officials and regime ally Russia agreed that four villages and a strategic town near the border with Jordan would be ceded to Damascus, extending government control to some 60% of Syria’s southern Daraa province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Russia-backed regime forces have been bombarding insurgents in southern Syria since June 19 in an effort to retake areas.

The Daraa region, which borders Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, has played a key role in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad since it began seven years ago, sparking a civil war.

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