Southern Syria Fighting Creates New Refugee, Border Crises; Israel Sends Aid

The UN has estimated that 50,000 people have fled the embattled areas in southern Syria in recent days

The UN has estimated that 50,000 people have fled the embattled areas in southern Syria in recent days

ForeignMinistry spokesman Hami Aksoy condemned regime attacks on opposition-held towns in southern Syria and called on Damascus' allies to stop the offensive that has killed dozens of civilians.

Retaking the whole of Daraa province would be a symbolic victory for the regime, as it is seen as the cradle of the anti-Assad uprising seven years ago that spiralled into civil war.

The regime has chipped away at rebel-held territory in Daraa since the escalation began nearly two weeks ago.

Air raids continued in the meantime, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in an offensive that the United Nations says has driven 160,000 people from their homes, threatening a humanitarian catastrophe.

"Whenever there is heavy bombardment on Daraa, it is an indicator that the Syrian regime [of President Bashar Assad] is recovering the rebels' strongholds in the central, northern and eastern parts of Syria", Ramtha resident Mohammad Abu Aqoul said.

Meanwhile, a Jordanian government spokeswoman announced Saturday night that the army has begun to distribute humanitarian aid to the Syrians on the Syrian-Jordanian border.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday Israel will help Syrian refugees near the disputed Syria-Israel border, but will not allow them to enter Israel.




Qatar based Al-Jazeera network, which has been allegedly supportive of the Syria's rebel forces, reports, "With backing by Russian air support, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have retaken territory and continue to progress southwards where the last pocket of opposition remains".

But Mr Assad set his sights on regaining full control of the provinces after defeating rebels in the Eastern Ghouta region outside the capital Damascus in April. One activist said the camps are about three kilometers (2 miles) from the frontier.

Russian Federation has played a critical role in supporting Assad's two-week offensive with air power and negotiating local deals initially overseen by its military police.

The entire southwest is part of a "de-escalation zone" agreed past year by Russian Federation, the United States and Jordan.

Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat said Amman is communicating with most of the parties to the Syrian crisis, mainly Russian Federation and the US, in an attempt to reach a cease-fire. The Observatory says more than 100 civilians have been killed since an escalation in fighting on June 19.

Talks between the Syrian opposition and Russian negotiators to reach a ceasefire in an opposition and rebel-held town in southwestern Syria have resumed after mediation by Jordan, an opposition spokesman said.

Throssell said several government checkpoints in parts of Daraa reportedly are extorting hundreds of dollars from civilians to allow them to pass.

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