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‘It’s over, we’re finished. The rebels have handed over Syria,’ says boy who sparked the civil war

“It’s over, we’re finished. They’re giving up Syria,” read the late-night message from a fighter with the Free Syrian Army.

Mouawiya Syasneh had vowed to battle on until victory, or death. But the boy credited with helping spark the civil war with a small act of defiance with teenage friends in 2011 – spraying anti-Bashar al-Assad graffiti on the walls of his school – was now preparing for defeat.  

The rebels in the southwestern province of Deraa agreed over the weekend to a surrender deal with the Syrian government’s Russian allies. The army has since laid siege to the city and say they are poised to regain complete control.

The fall of the birthplace of the uprising against the president …

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