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Insurgents control large parts of Daraa: Syria MP

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A Syrian MP from the southern province of Daraa bordering Jordan on Thursday painted a bleak picture of the situation there, saying that insurgents have seized part of the main highway to Damascus.

"Syria is no longer going through a crisis. It is plunged in total war. Terrorism has spread in Syria and so has chaos. This is reality, and all Syrians know it," Walid al-Zohbi told parliament in a session broadcast live on state television.

"This is also happening in all towns and villages in Daraa province, which is torn from east to west after the army withdrew from many positions," he said.

"They may have pulled out for tactical reasons, we don't know. But at any rate, terrorists from Al-Nusra Front have taken their place," he added of a jihadist group with roots in Iraq, classed by Washington as "terrorists".

Some MPs called out and tried to silence Zohbi, but he refused to be interrupted.

"There are people who send reports claiming the Daraa highway has been secured, but it's not true. The area stretching from Khirbet Ghazaleh to the border crossing is under the control of armed groups," Zohbi said.

Rebels in southern Syria have taken a 25-kilometre (15-mile) swathe of land stretching from Jordan to the sensitive ceasefire line with Israel in the Golan Heights, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday.

"The fact that the highway was cut off led to the fall of the most important military position, which I will not name because this is being broadcast live on television," said Zohbi.

"From the south, we are totally exposed. We are only protected from the west, by Base 61. The people are living in hell and their morale has hit rock bottom," he raged.

"I want to address the presidency of the republic and the government, hoping that what I have to say will be heard. For 20 days I have been speaking to senior officials about where the rebels are based, but there have been no results so far," he added.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130328/insurgents-control-large-parts-daraa-syria-mp