Jordan source reports south Syria truce; State Department can not confirm

Minnie Murray
July 4, 2018

Syrian troops have seized a swathe of rebel territory northeast of Deraa city.

A string of Syrian rebel-held towns and villages accepted government rule on Saturday as insurgent lines collapsed in parts of the southwest under an intense bombardment that the United Nations says has forced 160,000 people to flee.

Russia is seeking the rebel handover of heavy and medium-sized weapons, and the deployment of Russian military police and Syrian police into towns retaken by government forces, he said.

"There should be no military forces in the area of separation other than those of UNDOF", reads the resolution drafted by the United States and Russian Federation. "I remind all parties to the conflict that global law requires that they do their utmost to protect civilians, and call upon them to provide safe passage to those wishing to flee, while those wishing to stay must be protected at all times", the High Commissioner said.

According to a war monitoring group, the offensive has uprooted more than 120,000 civilians, driving majority towards the border with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Two ambulances carrying injured Syrians crossed into Jordan.

Fierce battles were still ongoing around Deraa city, near the Jordanian border, where the army had repeatedly failed to capture a disused air base, rebels said.

The opposition's chief negotiator in wider U.N. peace talks, Nasr al-Hariri, last week accused the United States of complicity in Assad's southwest offensive, saying American silence could only be explained by "a malicious deal".

The Jordanian army began delivering humanitarian aid to thousands of displaced Syrians who took shelter near its border when major fighting broke out in southern Syria this month, a government spokeswoman said on Saturday.

The source did not elaborate further on the reports of an agreement in the territory where Syrian government forces have been waging a campaign to regain rebel-held territory since last week.

"The committee held its first meeting with Russian officers who presented their demands", said Ibrahim Jabawi, a spokesman of the central operations room set up by the main Free Syrian Army groups in southern Syria.

The regime has chipped away at rebel-held territory in Daraa since ratcheting up the violence nearly two weeks ago, with Russian Federation stepping in to oversee a string of deals to retake towns from the embattled rebels.

Since 19 June, when shelling and airstrikes escalated, the UN Human Rights Office has documented at least 46 civilian deaths in several towns.

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