Published: Wed, July 04, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Syrian army gains in southwest, rebels talk peace terms

Syrian army gains in southwest, rebels talk peace terms

Rebels remain in control of parts of the provincial capital Deraa City, where the Syrian uprising began in 2011.

The Norwegian Refugee Council has asked Jordan to reopen its border but the country already hosts hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and says it can't accept any more.

It would also allow the regime to reopen the Naseeb border crossing with neighbouring Jordan and resume lucrative trade across the frontier.

Jabawi told The Associated Press that Russian Federation, a strong ally of President Bashar Assad's government, wants the rebels to hand over their weapons followed by a return of government forces to rebel-held areas.

Syria is pushing south in an offensive against rebels in the southern Daraa Province, which borders Israel and Jordan.

Jumana Ghunaimat, spokeswoman for Jordan's government, briefed reporters after the prime minister's visit, defending Jordan's position not to open the border to the fleeing refugees.

Addressing the Israeli cabinet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had apprised Russian Federation and the United States of its position on the developments in the Golan, alluding to a separation of forces agreement with Syria after the 1973 Middle East war that created a buffer zone patrolled by the UN Disengagement and Observer Force (UNDOF).

But Russian negotiators had still not arrived several hours after another meeting was due to begin on Saturday, Jabawi said. Jordan, which is already hosting 660,000 registered refugees, says it can not accept any more and has sealed its border, despite appeals from aid groups.

"We call on the worldwide community to condemn the brutal breaching of the de-escalation zone... and take all possible measures to halt this assault on our people", SNC spokesman Yahya al-Aridi said in a statement.

Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah, which fights alongside Damascus, said meanwhile that a "very big victory" was near in southern Syria, where pro-government forces have made rapid gains in Deraa province. The United Nations (U.N.) estimates that fighting has forced 160,000 from their homes, a number that is three times higher than a previous estimate by the U.N. according to Al Jazeera. It further said that Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) has "delivered 300 tents and tons of food and humanitarian supplies for children on Thursday night".

Zeid, a Jordanian prince, said there is a grave risk that the intensified fighting will see many civilians trapped, caught between government forces on the one hand and rebels and members of the Islamic State group on the other. Last week, rebels said the United States had told them not to expect any American military support.

"We're going to talk about Ukraine, we're going to be talking about Syria".

The war has been going Assad's way since Russian Federation intervened on his side in 2015, when he held just a fraction of the country.

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