‘Jordan to keep border closed to Syrias displaced

Larry Hoffman
July 7, 2018

Government forces have been waging a renewed assault against rebel fighters in the country's south west.

He said the situation in southern Syria was a cause for serious concern and needed to be resolved as soon as possible.

The Russian demands, handed to rebels in a meeting in a town in southern Syria on Saturday, had prompted a walkout by the rebels, who said the terms amounted to a humiliating surrender.

Losing Bosra al Sham, a major town near the provincial capital of Daraa, would be a significant loss for the opposition in the teeth of a Russian-backed Syrian regime forces offensive in the southwest that has taken chunks of rebel territory.

But it is simultaneously brokering talks with rebel towns for negotiated surrenders in a carrot-and-stick strategy that Russian Federation and the regime have successfully used in the past.

The number of displaced has multiplied in the past week, despite talks over the weekend between rebel Free Syrian Army groups and Russian Federation to cede territory.

Some 650,000 Syrian refugees have registered with the United Nations in Jordan since fleeing their country's seven-year war, which started with anti-government protests in 2011.

About 90 minutes after the meeting was set to begin, the joint rebel command for the south announced the talks had "failed".

Rebels and residents say a string of rebel towns have reached their own surrender arrangements that have allowed Russian military police to enter and patrol their towns. Last week, rebels said the United States had told them not to expect any American military support.

Intensive air strikes targeting the towns of Sayda and Tafas in the countryside of Dara'a were reported following the failure of negotiations between rebels and the Russian side, according to Sky News Arabia.

"The abject refusal by Jordanian authorities to allow asylum seekers to seek protection not only goes against their global legal obligations, but against basic human decency", said HRW's Lama Fakih.

At least 160,000 people have been displaced, the United Nations says, with a lot of them going to the borders with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The Observatory said some rebel groups accepted to reconcile with the government after handing over their weapons while the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and other ultra-radical groups have rejected to evacuate toward northern Syria.

Israel's military deployed tank and artillery reinforcements to the Golan on Sunday, a statement said, "in light of developments on the Syrian Golan Heights".

World powers have criticized the operation for violating a ceasefire announced past year by Washington, Amman and Moscow, but they have not managed to halt the blitz.

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