Air strikes kill seven civilians in southern Syria

Marsha Scott
July 21, 2018

Syrian and Russian bombardment battered the province of Quneitra, which remains mostly in rebel hands, for a second day on Monday.

Syria's official SANA news agency reported on Thursday that the agreement stipulates the evacuation of terrorists "unwilling for settlement" with the Damascus government to northwestern Idlib Province.

The government has stepped up its military offensive on the remaining opposition pockets in the southwestern region, which includes the Daraa and Quneitra provinces that straddle the border with Jordan and the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Besieged for three years by rebels and HTS, the Shiite-majority towns had become a rallying cry for the government and Iran, another key regime ally.

Since June, Syrian troops and allied forces have seized control of most of the southwestern Daraa province, including the provincial capital of the same name. An HTS ambush then left 12 regime forces dead, Abdel Rahman said. Under the recent surrender deal rebels would hand over weapons, and fighters who do not wish to live under state rule would be transferred out.

The Observatory said warplanes and ground forces have also targeted with a barrage of missiles the southern tip of the region, which is held by a militant group affiliated with the Islamic State group.

Other towns in the west of the province have also joined the deal, but opposition fighters in Nawa - where tens of thousands of people live - have resisted.

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Citing a Russian diplomat, the report said that Israel and Syria have agreed to return to the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement drawn up in the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Israel does not want its enemies Iran and Hezbollah, both allies of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, who are well entrenched in that area, to move forces near its border.

Many of those trapped by the Syrian government's advances were hoping for relief from Israel, or some sort of a safe zone there, said Areej Ghabash, a local health worker in Quneitra.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Sunday that IDF air strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza over the weekend had delivered a "severe" blow to Hamas while Liberman added that Israel has "no intention of learning to live" with ongoing kite-born arson attacks from Gaza.

The launching of incendiary devices is part of a campaign led by Gaza's Hamas rulers against Israel meant in part to draw attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after the militant group assumed control of Gaza in 2007.

Congressional officials and other supporters argue that US recognition of Israeli control of the Golan Heights could thwart Russian Federation and Iran's growing influence in Syria and also send a powerful message that the United States sides with the Jewish state's security interests as regional tensions grow. The Observatory said at least 12 people were killed as rescuers struggled to get to the casualties.

A group of Palestinian activists in the Gaza Strip who have been flying incendiary kites and balloons into Israeli territory say they will continue their activities, despite Israeli threats until the 11-year blockade of Gaza is lifted. Israel did not issue any comments on the incident.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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