'Jordan, Open the Border': Syrians Chant as Thousands Stuck at Jordanian Border

Israel, Jordan say they won't let refugees in amid worries of humanitarian catastrophe

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that at least eight battered rebel-held towns in Daraa returned to regime control under Russian-brokered deals.

Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are deployed in al-Ghariya al-Gharbiya in Deraa province, Syria in this handout released on June 30, 2018.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitoring group, said the campaign had killed at least 98 civilians since June 19.

Ibrahim Jabawi, a spokesman for the main Free Syrian Army groups, said the rebels had proposed the return of civilian state institutions in the opposition-held areas and the entry of Russian military police rather than Syrian government forces.

Russian Federation is demanding rebels either agree to leave the contested areas with their families or accept the return of state rule.

But half of the province - including part of the provincial capital Daraa city - still remains in the hands of opposition forces not willing to give up the fight.

"The regime wants us to hand over everything - Deraa city, the Naseeb crossing, ourselves and the heavy weapons".

Shortly after the collapse of negotiations over southern Syria, airstrikes intensified on rebel-held parts of Daraa province that borders Jordan.

After the peace talks failed on Saturday, warplanes launched a new wave of strikes on the rebel-held towns of Bosra al-Sham, al-Nuaima and other areas, the Observatory reported, causing deaths, injuries and damage.

Jordan, concerned about the outbreak of violence and mass displacement along its northern border, has been facilitating talks between FSA factions and the Russians over a deal that would end the fighting.

Jordan stepped in to try to avert further violence and stem another wave of displacement across its border with Syria on Sunday, mediating new talks between rebels and the Syrian government's main ally Russian Federation for a truce in the southwest.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres slammed the military offensive, calling for "an immediate cessation" of military force, particularly against unarmed civilians.

"The IDF will continue to maintain its non-involvement in Syria while at the same time responding forcefully to any violation of Israel's sovereignty or endangerment of Israel's citizens", the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement.

The campaign has shattered a "de-escalation" deal negotiated by the United States, Russia and Jordan that had mostly contained fighting in the southwest since a year ago.

Guterres "calls on all parties to respect their obligations under worldwide humanitarian law and human rights law, protect civilians and facilitate safe, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access".

The stream of refugees fleeing the battlegrounds in southern Syria towards the borders with Jordan and Israel swelled last weekend, as their number grew to 160,000, according to the UN.

Jordan, which has taken in more than 650,000 displaced Syrians since the war began, and Israel have said they will not open their borders to refugees.



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