Assad forces target fighters near Golan Heights

17 Juillet, 2018, 00:36 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Assad forces target fighters near Golan Heights

The monitor said an estimated 1,400 people were expected to be evacuated on Sunday.

The government's push came after it had secured control of most of the Daraa province in an offensive that began in June.

Syrian regime forces backed by Russian Federation made sweeping advances on Monday against rebels holding out in the country's south, a monitor and regime media said.

"Syrian ... forces captured the town of al-Harah, as well as Samlin, al-Tiha and Zimrin", media outlets quoted observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman as saying.

The so-called "reconciliation" deal for Deraa city is the latest in a string of such agreements the regime has used to retake large parts of the country.

On Sunday, government forces fired hundreds of missiles in the first such attack on the province in more than year when Russian Federation, the United States, and Jordan agreed to a ceasefire for parts of the south, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. In a bid to minimize civilian casualties, both Damascus and Moscow have been initiating talks with militants to make them hand back the areas they control to the government without fighting.

Syrian state television broadcast images of white buses it said were carrying the fighters, their blue curtains drawn, surrounded by military forces.

Syrian state news agency SANA said on Sunday rebels handed over heavy weapons to the Syrian army, showing images of armoured vehicles and artillery it said had been collected.

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They usually follow ferocious military campaigns and sometimes stifling sieges that effectively force rebels to surrender.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent reported a humanitarian aid convoy reached government-held parts of southwest Syria on Sunday.

The convoy was accompanied by a delegation that included the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Syria, Ali al-Zaatari, and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Rebels and militant groups still control 70 percent of Quneitra, while the Syrian government is in full control of Sweida - a third southern province - the Observatory added.

The Daraa onslaught took less than three weeks to break the rebels' grip, with the regime now in control of more than four-fifths of that province's territory, the monitor said.

Israel has been on high alert in recent days as Syrian government forces advance against foreign-backed terrorists near the Golan Heights.

Speculation has been building that Mr. Putin and President Trump may be preparing a deal Monday in their Helsinki summit on the future of Syria as the Bashar Assad government appears close to winning the country's brutal seven-year civil war, a deal that would include the withdrawal of Iranian units that have been backing Mr. Assad.

Syria's conflict has killed more than 350,000 people since March 2011.

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