Syrian government offensive has displaced at least 270000 in southwest

Marsha Scott
July 7, 2018

Since mid-June, towns in and around the province of Deraa have come under constant bombardment from regime forces, backed by President Assad's Russian and Iranian allies.

The Nabaa Media, an opposition activist collective, also said that fighting is taking place in Tafas, adding that thousands of people have fled toward the fence along the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The first round of talks on Saturday prompted rebels to walk out, saying Russian terms amounted to a humiliating surrender.

Israel's military deployed tank and artillery reinforcements to the Golan on Sunday, a statement said, "in light of developments on the Syrian Golan Heights".

Negotiations for settling the situation in Daraa have been ongoing between the Russian side, which is representing the Syrian government, and an array of rebel groups in that area.

Current talks are over remaining rebel territory, including Daraa's western countryside and the southern half of the city.

It included a ceasefire, the army's withdrawal from towns it had already taken, and safe passage to other opposition territory for rebels or civilians who did not want to live under regime control.

But Moscow roundly rejected the terms, the source said, and responded with a counter-proposal.

As the humanitarian situation at the border worsens, some Jordanians have called on the government to let Syrians into the country, with the hashtag "open the borders" trending on Twitter and users pledging to "share our bread" with those seeking safety.

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A week ago the worldwide organisation said that 160,000 people had been displaced.

Eleven members of a single family were killed overnight in a landmine blast as they returned to their hometown of Al-Mseifra, which had "reconciled" with the government, the Observatory said Wednesday.

More than 140 civilians have died since the assault began.

For Jordan, which borders southwest Syria, the offensive has seen some 160,000 displaced citizens flock to its border.

Mr Safadi said Amman had open channels with Damascus and Moscow and the talks would focus on reaching a ceasefire and halting the displacement.

Residents and displaced Daraa natives gathered in front of United Nations offices in a rebel-held town in Quneitra province to protest global inaction.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi will travel to Moscow on Tuesday to meet with Russia's top diplomat Sergei Lavrov over the crisis, the latest human exodus caused by the more than seven year war.

Because the USA is denying assistance to the remaining southwestern rebels, the region is likely to fall to Assad's forces and leave a solitary rebel stronghold in Syria's north.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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