Syrian troops celebrate seizing Jordan border crossing

10 July 2018, 12:40 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Syrian forces reach Jordanian border crossing as rebels negotiate surrender

Su-25 fighter jet pilots who took part in the Russian mission in Syria walk on the runway after landing at a military airport in Krasnodar Region Russia

Hundreds of troops in a large military convoy with Russian and Syrian flags advanced on Syria's Nassib border crossing with Jordan, witnesses said.

Both countries have said they will not open their borders to refugees - Jordan took in more than half a million earlier in the war - but have distributed some supplies inside Syria.

It said the latest deaths bring to 65 the number of children reported killed in less than three weeks in southern Syria alone.

The army, which had deployed more armoured vehicles in the area, has set in motion "contingency plans to face any eventuality" as the Syrian government offensive closes in on the Nasib crossing, diplomatic sources said.

State television footage showed giant clouds of smoke towering over fields, rooftops and a distant industrial area of Deraa city, accompanied by the sound of occasional explosions.

"The regime and the Russians consider themselves to have won and are acting accordingly, advancing and applying articles of the deal however they want", rebel spokesman Hussein Abazeed said.

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

Under the deal, rebels agreed to hand over their heavy weapons.

Ibrahim al-Jabawi said the two sides were expected to hold talks this evening in the southern town of Bosra.

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According to the United Kingdom -based Syrian Network for Human Rights, at least 214 civilians - including women and children - were killed in regime attacks in Daraa in the period from June 15 to June 30.

"They (rebels) destroyed the town, God will punish them", said a 50-year-old villager who returned to check on her home.

Rebels agreed to give up arms in a Russian-brokered ceasefire deal, surrendering Deraa in another victory for President Bashar al-Assad's state and its allies.

Although local communities in Syria have opened their doors to take in numerous displaced, most are forced to live in open spaces or in makeshift shelters that offer little safety and protection from the elements.

It caps a series of government victories nationwide since Russian Federation intervened in 2015 on Assad's side, including for the former rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus earlier this year.

Rebel territory in the south was included in a ceasefire brokered past year by Russian Federation, the United States and Jordan, but that has done little to stem violence.

Assad's next target in the southwest appears to be Quneitra province at the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, where fighting between militants and Syrian forces escalated on Friday.

In one village, Saida, there were few residents two days after Syrian soldiers captured it from the rebels.

Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters to Syria since 2013 to help Assad's forces, tipping the balance of power in his favor in several areas, including along the border with Lebanon.



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