Syrian troops celebrate after claiming key post on Jordan border

A Su-25 fighter jet which took part in the Russian mission in Syria lands at a military airport in Krasnodar Region Russia
Syrian forces reach Jordanian border crossing as rebels negotiate surrender

10 July, 2018

Anders Pedersen, the United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator in Jordan said on Sunday that only about 150-200 people remained there.

But, in general, the situation in Daraa and in other areas in southern Syria is seemingly leaning toward negotiations and deals, as Russian Federation has successfully mediated an agreement to settle the situation in Daraa after two weeks of battles that enabled the army to capture Nasib.

CARE said that "waves of people have moved to western Daraa" and Quneitra, as the government troops seized control of areas in the southeast of the country.

The Jordanian borders have been closed since 2015, and a Syrian military officer said the decision to reopen the crossing is a political one between both countries.

They are the second batch of refugees from the Arsal area to return to Syria in a repatriation organized by the Lebanese General Security, which describes it as a voluntary return.

The offices of the Syrian border control and customs were largely damaged.

Syrian warplanes pounded Um al-Mayazeen just five kilometers north of the Jordanian border, killing three civilians, said the Britain-based monitor.

Dark smoke rose over areas held by Syrian rebels near the border with Jordan as President Bashar al-Assad's Russian allies unleashed heavy air strikes and government forces sought to advance on the ground.

This too is expected to take some time.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported more than 600 airstrikes, including the use of barrel bombs, in Daraa province since Wednesday.

Osama al-Homsi, 26, told AFP he was hesitant to return to his hometown of Jeeza in southeastern Daraa after the deal.

In a statement issued on Friday, July 6, the joint opposition operations room for southern Syria said rebels agreed to a deal that includes their "gradual" surrender of heavy and medium weapons.

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.

Under the deal, Russian military police will take the border crossings, and will guarantee the return of displaced civilians and rebels who want to end their opposition to government rule.

Rebels and a jihadist group that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State also hold part of Quneitra province in the southwest along the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan. The rebels will disarm, but in a series of stages.

It is also one of the main concessions gained by neighbouring Jordan, which is fearful that Shia militias fighting alongside government forces will gain control of the area on its northern border.

USA -backed and Kurdish-led forces seized the town from the Islamic State group in 2016, but Turkey views the Kurdish fighters as terrorists due to their links to insurgents across the border and has demanded they withdraw.

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria's war started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

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