Published: Wed, July 04, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Number of displaced triples to 160,000 during fighting in south Syria

Number of displaced triples to 160,000 during fighting in south Syria

Rebels controlling several towns in southern Syria were on Friday considering a deal for a regime takeover in exchange for an end to fierce bombing, state media and a monitor said.

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.

Local websites reporting news about Ramtha claimed that dozens of mortar shells have lost their way into their area since the beginning of the attack on Daraa nearly two weeks ago.

Fighting and bombardment had calmed overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, but reignited on Sunday around Tafas, northwest of Deraa, along with heavy air attacks.

Clashes between rebels and regime forces in the same area killed four opposition fighters, it said.

Israel will not allow any Syrian refugees to enter its territory but will continue to provide them with humanitarian aid, Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman said.

But much of the province - including part of the provincial capital Deraa city - still remains in the hands of rebels not willing to give up the fight.

Russia, the Syrian government's strongest supporter, has backed army advances with air strikes since entering the war in 2015 and has played a role in mediating surrender deals. So far, about 100 civilians have been killed in air raids and shelling since June 19, it said.

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.

The statement said Russian Federation and Iran were violating the agreement they made and that it was "no surprise" that they proved to be "totally untrustworthy".

Insurgent negotiators and a spokesman said a six-member civilian and military committee of the southern rebels held a preliminary meeting along the administrative borders of neighboring Sweida province.

Daraa Governorate, which is located at the intersection of Jordan, the occupied Golan region and Lebanon, was declared a de-escalation zone in July 2017, when a trilateral ceasefire agreement was reached, with the US, Russia and Jordan as guarantors.

The war has been going Assad's way since Russian Federation intervened on his side in 2015, when he held just a fraction of the country.

"Civilians are paying the price of another military offensive", said Wouter Schapp, CARE's Syria country director.

Jabawi had said earlier Saturday that the Russian conditions "cannot be accepted" adding that to pressure the rebels, intense airstrikes have been targeting southern villages and towns that have until now largely evaded the violence of Syria's seven-year conflict.

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