Air strikes kill five in southern Syria: monitor

Air strikes kill five in southern Syria: monitor

Air strikes kill five in southern Syria: monitor

If the United States no longer plans to offer any assistance or cover to the Rebels, while the Russians provide air support to Assad's forces - many of them made up of Hezbollah and Iranian troops, it is very likely that the rebel-held southern regions along the border with Jordan will fall.

Daraa and the adjacent province of Quneitra are mostly still held by opposition forces, but army troops appear to be preparing a ground assault to retake them.

Government helicopters dropped barrel bombs on Deraa city for the first time in almost a year on Monday, a rebel and a war monitor said, extending an assault in southwest Syria which has driven thousands from their homes.

Russia, the United States, and Jordan agreed in July of past year on a de-escalation zone in rebel-controlled parts of southern Syria that would tamp down hostilities there.

Russian jets struck an opposition-held town in southwest Syria on Sunday, opposition sources said, in the first air cover provided by Moscow to an expanding Syrian army offensive to recapture the strategic area bordering Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

"Thus pushing more civilians to flee the area", Rami Abdel Rahman, Head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told newsmen in Beirut.

Last Month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that only Syrian government forces should maintain presence on the Arab country's southern parts.

According to the Observatory, about 28 civilians have been killed since Tuesday when government forces and their allies intensified bombardment on Daraa's eastern countryside.

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Some 12,000 people have been displaced from Daraa province in recent days, the Observatory said, with many seeking refuge in poorly-equipped displacement camps further west.

The United Nations has warned that renewed hostilities could put 750,000 lives at risk.

The southwest is of strategic concern to United States ally Israel, which has this year stepped up attacks on Iran-backed militia allied to Assad.

With most of Syria's territory already liberated by the government forces backed by the Russian Air Force, there are still some terrorist pockets located mainly in the southwest US-controlled areas.

The Golan is also home to thousands of Druze whose relatives live in Sweida, which has remained loyal to Assad, and other surrounding villages facing the regime onslaught.

If the Syrian Army retakes this town, it will cut off the rebel forces in al-Lajat plateau from the larger rebel Daraa pocket. He described President Trump as a "very stark example" of American approach in politics - always saying "what you want to hear", but doing the opposite, get things "worse and worse".

In an effort to avoid a deadly offensive, global powers are holding talks aimed at reaching a negotiated settlement for Syria's south.

"The US, Russia and Jordan, which brokered a south-western ceasefire in 2017, should urgently extend that truce in preparation for a broader settlement", the report added. "We knew anyway that they weren't going to intervene, so we weren't disappointed", he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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