Syrian troops surround rebel-held southwestern city of Daraa

Posted July 10, 2018

The Observatory and the government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media said troops now also control most areas along the Jordanian border, after taking the main border crossing there.

The government's offensive to retake Daraa and the nearby Quneitra region on the frontier near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights began on June 19, and is now expected to turn more forcefully toward retaking Quneitra, potentially setting up a clash with Hezbollah and Iran unless they agree to stay away from the area as Israel demands. "An estimated 750,000 lives are in danger". Filppo Grandi, UNHCR high commissioner issued a statement saying expressing concern for the civilian population caught in the crossfire in South West Syria, including airstrikes and heavy shelling.

The rebels in southern Syria once received significant backing and support from the US that has receded and all but dried up over the past few years.

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 deal, mediated by Russian Federation, will restore state sovereignty over rebel-held areas in Daraa province following a fierce government offensive.

"Jordan's efforts succeeded in convincing the negotiating parties to meet again". "We ask for real guarantees and United Nations sponsorship for the southern negotiations", the statement said.

Under the agreement, Syrian forces will not be allowed to remain in the area re-taken by the government, sources told Al Jazeera.

"The Nassib crossing will come under a Syrian civil administration, with Russian supervision", said Abazeed. This would split the territory in two.

The Jordanian borders have been closed since 2015, and a Syrian military officer said the decision to reopen the crossing is a political one between both countries.

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Government advances in Deraa since mid June had brought large parts of the province back under state control.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, monitoring the war through what it describes as many sources on the ground, said there had been 600 air strikes in 15 hours, extending into Thursday's early hours.

More than 30 southern towns have already agreed to surrender, expanding the regime's control of Daraa province to more than 60 percent, double what it held before the offensive.

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

With the help of Russian air power, the government's assault has swept into swathes of Daraa over the past two weeks, shrinking one of Syria's last rebel strongholds.

Before Syria's brutal conflict started in 2011, hundreds of trucks made the crossing daily, carrying goods from the country into Jordan.

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

Jordan had placed some of its medical staff in the area near the duty free zone to treat injured Syrians after Amman refused to give permission for refugees to enter its territories.

Rebel territory in southern Syria was already included in a ceasefire agreed previous year between Washington, Amman, and Moscow, but that did little to halt the regime's attack.

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