Monday, 23 July, 2018

Syrian rebels lose string of southwest towns

UN Warns of Humanitarian Catastrophe if Fighting Escalates in Daraa, Syria Syrian forces press offensive in south as rebels consider truce terms and civilians flee
Leonard Rios | 04 July, 2018, 01:52

Syrian state television broadcast scenes of people in the town of Dael in Deraa province celebrating its return to government control.

Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are deployed in al-Ghariya al-Gharbiya in Deraa province.

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.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least 120,000 Syrians have fled.

Thousands of Syrians who have fled Daraa province after a government-launched offensive in mid-June have arrived at the border with Jordan and Golan Heights.

The onslaught has sparked fears of a re-run of the offensives past year against the rebel enclaves of Aleppo and eastern Ghouta, including deadly bombardments followed by a retaking of territory and an accord to evacuate rebels from the areas.

Israeli officials said they can't possibly take in 160,000 refugees, but are trying to do everything possible to help them.

More and more Israeli forces surge into the occupied Golan Heights these days, reinforcements dispatched with an eye toward fighting in the war across the frontier in neighboring Syria.

Jordan, which has taken in more than half a million displaced Syrians since the war began, and Israel have said they will not open their borders to refugees.

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But many residents of opposition towns worry that a deal struck with Russian Federation would only be violated later on, said Daraa activist Omar Hariri.

A video released by Israel's military shows soldiers loading aid into trucks on the Israeli-controlled side and the cargo being then carried into vehicles by unidentified people on the Syrian side of the border.

Syrian rebel spokesman Ibrahim Jabawi, rejecting the Russian terms for a deal, said: "The talks collapsed because the Russians insisted on their conditions that want us to surrender".

For almost two weeks, the Syrian army, backed by Russian aerial support, has been launching a massive bombardment campaign against the rebel-held towns in Syria's Daraa province, the birthplace of the 2011 uprising.

The Syrian government promises that all Syrian territory will be liberated.

The regime has chipped away at rebel-held territory in Daraa since ratcheting up the violence nearly two weeks ago, with Russian Federation stepping in to oversee a string of deals to retake towns from the embattled rebels.

A rebel-held town east of the city of Daraa during airstrikes on Saturday. The Observatory says more than 100 civilians have been killed since an escalation in fighting on June 19.

Opposition negotiators said they would only accept a deal that made Jordan a guarantor for the safety of Deraa province's 800,000 civilians and added that continued air strikes during the talks undermined trust in the process.

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