Syria: Russian-Backed Ceasefire Allows 28000 To Return Home

Erika Holt
July 9, 2018

A commander in a regional military alliance that backs Mr Assad said an Israeli air strike had hit a Syrian village in Quneitra yesterday, causing no casualties.

Upon reaching the Nasib border crossing between Syria and Jordan, the rebels' red-white-black flag with three red stars in the middle used to seen painted on every roadblock and nearly all walls. Although the USA government negotiated a de-escalation agreement for southern Syria a year ago, it has remained silent as Assad's forces marched onto Daraa in the past two weeks in a crushing assault that displaced more than 330,000 people.

Eisenkot stressed that Israel would not allow the presence of Iranian militias of any type on its borders, and Dunford concurred.

Syria's government offensive to retake the province of Daraa from insurgents, which began on June 19, has displaced some 330,000 people, many of them heading to the border with Jordan that refused to allow refugees to cross. Dozens have been killed.

Several thousand people fleeing an army offensive against rebels in southwest Syria had congregated in a free zone near the crossing.

The capture of the Naseeb border crossing is another victory for President Bashar Assad's forces, who have regained control of most of the area's key cities from insurgents.

Twenty-four hours into the onslaught, rebels said they were willing to return to negotiations.

Another displaced Syrian, Umm Zaid, a mother of five who had lost her husband in the latest offensive, said she would break through the fence if necessary, speaking to Reuters from the border area by phone.

The Israeli army asserted that "It is not involved in the internal fighting in Syria".

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"Today we are negotiating to stop the barbaric assault", said Ibrahim al-Jabawi, a spokesman for the rebels' negotiating team.

Hezbollah, meanwhile, boasted that some of its elite units were helping to direct battles close to the front with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

But Abazeed said the evacuation of opposition fighters and their families planned for Sunday was temporarily put on hold due to "an exchange of fire" between rebels and regime forces.

He obtained "control over the Syrian-Jordanian border areas in Daraa, the gradual disarmament of the rebels' heavier weapons, and the opportunity to rebuild his government's influence in southern Syria", the analyst at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security said.

The deal will take place in phases across Deraa, but there is no timeline yet, a rebel official said.

State news agency SANA reported that Syria's two-starred flag had been raised over the crossing.

Tens of thousands of Syrians have fled the fighting in the region toward Jordan's border.

The Nasib crossing is also considered as one of the most important land crossings in the Middle East as it was the main crossing for Syrian exports to Jordan and the Gulf countries. "We have ended their existence", he said of the rebels.

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