Israel says 'no' to civilians fleeing Syria | Saturday Star

The bombardment of Daraa province he bombardment has forced more than 66,000 to flee their homes according to the UN

Fierce battles were still roiling the area around Deraa city, near the Jordanian border, where the army was trying to capture a disused airbase, rebels said, and the northwestern chunk of Deraa province remains in opposition hands.

If the state regains control of the southwest region, the only remaining rebel stronghold will be in Northwest Syria along the Turkey border.

More and more Syrian land is being liberated by the Syrian military and its allies.

The current pro-government push to retake southwestern Syria is the largest assault on opposition-held territory there since a de-escalation deal brokered by the United States, Russia and Jordan came into effect in July 2017.

Throssell said several government checkpoints in parts of Daraa reportedly are extorting hundreds of dollars from civilians to allow them to pass.

Israel beefed up its tank and artillery deployment on the Golan Heights frontier with Syria on Sunday, cautioning Damascus┬┤ forces to keep a distance as they sweep rebel-held areas over the border.

Busra Al-Sham was captured by the rebels of the Free Syrian Army's Southern Front Brigades and Jabhat Al-Nusra in March of 2015.

Israel and Jordan say they will not let refugees in. Another rebel official said some towns were trying to negotiate deals with the state on their own.

Jumana Ghunaimat, spokeswoman for Jordan's government, briefed reporters after the prime minister's visit, defending Jordan's position not to open the border to the fleeing refugees.

The Russians were not ready to listen to our demands.

"The (rebels') negotiating team refused to surrender and refused to accept the Russian conditions". So far, the USA has remained silent in the face of a breach, and rebels are accusing them of making a "malicious deal" to remain silent.

With those capitulations, regime forces have doubled their territorial control in the main southern province of Daraa to around 60 percent since operations began on June 19.

With the "reconciliation" deals in Daraa, the regime has further chipped away at a U-shaped patch of territory controlled by the rebels in southern Syria.

The Observatory said at least 46 civilians, including 15 children, have been killed since the offensive began, including the victims of Thursday's airstrike.

"There are talks between the Russians on one side and opposition factions on the other, through local mediators", said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor.

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