United Nations says displaced Syrians leave zone near Jordan border crossing

Adjust Comment Print

Russian-backed Syrian forces had launched an offensive in southern Syria two weeks ago. "An estimated 750,000 lives are in danger".

The military's next target in the southern offensive appears to be parts of the nearby Quneitra province that are in rebel hands at the Golan frontier.

Concrete blocks near the Nassib border crossing were plastered with emblems of insurgent factions, while an army checkpoint at the entrance carried photos of Assad.

The territorial gain is the latest victory for Assad, who has scored a string of successes with the backing of Russian Federation and Iran and now dominates some 60% of the country.

The provinces of Deraa and Quneitra had been relatively calm for nearly a year because of a "de-escalation" agreement brokered by the United States and Jordan, which support the opposition, and Russian Federation, a key ally of the government Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"Jordan's efforts succeeded in convincing the negotiating parties to meet again".

The rebel spokesman for the south, Abazeed, said that during Wednesday's meeting a Russian negotiator who identified himself as Alexander had threatened renewed strikes from Russian's airbase in northwestern Syria.

With its recapture, the government in Damascus is hoping to reopen a crucial economic lifeline with neighbouring Jordan. This would split the territory in two. Russian airstrikes helped the regime advance.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that the regime now controls about 70 percent of Daraa province.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) said a convoy of food parcels and flour bags, from the UN's World Food Programme, headed to Ibta town which came under regime army control last week.

Jabawi said the Russians had insisted that the rebels hand over their weapons before discussing any other topic.

It is also one of the main concessions gained by neighbouring Jordan, which is fearful that Shia militias fighting alongside government forces will gain control of the area on its northern border.

Israel is warning the Syrian government against a military deployment in the Golan Heights.

Hours after opposition factions signed onto Friday's reconciliation agreement, SAA soldiers and armored vehicles entered the Naseeb border crossing along the Syrian-Jordanian border on Saturday, where upwards of 100,000 displaced Syrians from across Daraa's eastern countryside had gathered.

Both countries say they will not open their borders, but have distributed some supplies inside Syria.

General Mahmoud Freihat, Jordanian chief of staff, has warned the army will deter any threat to Jordanian security.

Six civilians, including a woman and four children, were killed in the town of Saida, which regime ground forces were trying to take, it said.

Assad's Iran-backed allies are also fighting in the campaign, defying Israeli demands they keep out of the border area.

State television showed footage of columns of smoke and said air strikes were aiming to cut rebel access routes in the southernmost parts of the province.