Jordan denies reports of airspace breach by Syrian jets

Aaron Brown
July 10, 2018

The Syrian army has expanded its control over 72 percent of the entire Daraa area in southern Syria, state news agency SANA said on Sunday.

It also underscores America's remarkable declining role and influence in Syria.

Meanwhile, the military operation continued in western Daraa after several rebel groups in the western countryside of Daraa rejected a Russian-backed deal to settle the situation in that province near Jordan.

Both Israel - which controls the neighboring Golan Heights region - and Jordan have refused to open their borders to displaced Syrians, drawing criticism from the UNHCR and rights groups.

Rebels seized control of the crossing in 2015, cutting a major lifeline for Syrian exports and disrupting a major trade route between Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and oil-rich gulf countries.

Many are now returning after a recent deal between the army and rebels.

Writing on Twitter on Friday, Safadi stated that Jordan discussed "practical measures" with Syria about how to ensure the safe return of "our brothers" to their homes. The assault has forced more than 330,000 residents to flee toward the sealed Jordanian border and the frontier with Israel in one of the largest displacements in the seven-year Syrian conflict.

Jordanian soldiers control the border between Syria and Jordan, near the town of Nasib, southern Syria.

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.

"A hundred buses were supposed to arrive but [the operation] has been postponed to a later date", the rebel spokesman said.

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Syria Direct could not independently confirm the final terms of the reported agreement, which were distributed online by pro-opposition activists since the weekend.

After securing areas around the capital this year, president Bashar al-Assad last month turned to the south, launching a bombing campaign on rebel areas on June 19. The new wave of attacks appears to have compelled the rebels to accept the deal.

"The bombardment has not stopped for one moment since the announcement that the negotiations failed", the 47-year-old said.

Jordan said on Thursday it had succeeded in persuading the Syrian opposition and the Russian side to meet again in an effort to reach a ceasefire and a political solution.

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

President Trump said in April he'd like to bring home USA troops supporting the SDF very soon.

Assad's forces, he added bitterly, will now take over the crossing points with Jordan "so (Jordan's) economic interest will resume at our expense".

The Observatory also said that after taking the villages of Heet and Zeizoun in the province, government forces have reached the area controlled by the Khaled bin Al-Waleed Army, which is linked with the Islamic State group.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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