Syria rebels reject Russian Federation conditions for surrender in Daraa

02 July, 2018, 11:30 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Israel, Jordan say they won't let refugees in amid worries of humanitarian catastrophe

Russia-backed regime forces have been bombarding insurgents in southern Syria since June 19 in an effort to retake areas.

Southwestern Syria is one of two remaining rebel strongholds, along with a region of the northwest, that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said he is determined to recapture. It added that in return for Russian guarantees, the rebels would hand over the Naseeb border crossing with Jordan and return state institutions to rebel-held areas in the south.

Israel said on Sunday it had deployed additional tank and artillery units to the Golan, concerned about the intensified fighting. He said Russian Federation wanted the rebels to hand over their weapons followed by a return of government forces to rebel-held areas.

In an extraordinary operation overnight Friday, Israel delivered several hundred tons of humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees at four separate locations along the border and brought six Syrians, among them four orphaned children, into Israel for medical treatment.

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. "It's inadmissible", a negotiator in the rebel-held part of Deraa city told Agence France-Presse.

Jordan has been facilitating the talks to end the fighting, which has brought thousands of families seeking safety to its border.

"The IDF will also insist on the principle of non-involvement in the situation in Syria, alongside a policy of a firm response to any violation of the State of Israel's sovereignty and creating a risk to its residents", the IDF stated.

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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 past year.

"[He] 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 UN refugee agency has reported that the number of displaced civilians in southern Syria has more than tripled in recent days, with over 160,000 now displaced from their homes in a little over a week.

Tens of thousands of people have fled towards the border with Jordan and thousands more to the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Clashes between rebels and regime forces and 22 air raids killed 10 opposition fighters and seven government troops, it said.

"The real concern is that we are going to see a repetition of what we saw in Eastern Ghouta - the bloodshed, the suffering, the civilians being held, being under a siege", United Nations human rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell said, referring to the rebel-held region near Damascus that was captured in April after weeks of heavy bombardment that killed about 1,700 civilians.

A war monitoring group said the offensive has uprooted more than 120,000 civilians in the southwest since it began last week.

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