Published: Sat, July 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Terrorists groups hand over weapons to Syrian army

Terrorists groups hand over weapons to Syrian army

A commander in the regional alliance supporting President Bashar al-Assad had earlier said government forces were advancing through rebel territory along Syria's frontier with Jordan and would soon reach the countries' main border crossing.

Rebels who did not wish to come back under Assad's rule would leave for the opposition stronghold in northwest Syria, they said.

"They didn't win militarily, it was only the agreements with rebels in some areas that made it look that way", Abazid told Middle East Eye, pointing to failed attempts to take a key air base in the area.

Israel yesterday threated to strike Syrian government forces if they breach the demilitarised border zone near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

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

Syrian civilians pose for a photograph as Syrian government forces recently recaptured the village of Ghariyah ash Sharqiyah from militants, in the province of Dara'a, on July 4, 2018.

Fighters battling a government-led offensive in southern Syria have agreed to a ceasefire deal with Russian Federation, a major ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to a rebel spokesman.

The offensive has swept into swathes of rebel-held territory in Deraa province, helped by heavy Russian air strikes.

The UN refugee agency has urged Jordan to open its borders to the fleeing Syrians.

"In the largest wave of displacement to hit southern Syria since the start of the seven-year-long war, an estimated 180,000 children have been forced to flee their homes with little resource for protection, shelter or assistance", UNICEF said.

During the renewed fighting, regime forces retook control of a security checkpoint on the Jordanian border for the first time in more than three years, the monitoring group said.

Rebels met with Russian negotiators on Wednesday, but the talks fell apart over Moscow's demands that fighters hand over their heavy-duty arms all at once.

The Syrian military and its Russian allies pummelled rebel-held towns in southwest Syria overnight with more than 600 air strikes in 15 hours, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said.

Hussein Abazeed, spokesman for the south's joint rebel command, accused Russian Federation of pursuing a "scorched-earth policy" to force rebels back to the negotiating table.

He accused Russian Federation of pursuing a "scorched earth policy" to force rebels back into negotiations.

On Thursday, the rebels' joint operations room in the south said it would be willing to resume talks.

Abazeed said the preliminary deal also provided for the safe transfer of at least 6,000 people, including rebels and civilians, to the northwestern province of Idlib.

Rebels then handed over some 275 square kilometres of border territory without a fight, said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

The talks this week focused on remaining rebel territory in Daraa province's western countryside and the southern half of the provincial capital.

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