Syrian troops recapture vital border crossing with Jordan

Syrian troops recapture vital border crossing with Jordan

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said yesterday that the return of tens of thousands of displaced Syrians in southern Syria was the kingdom's top priority and that he had discussed "practical guarantees" with concerned parties.

In recent weeks, in defiance of a deescalation agreement, Syrian and allied forces have stepped up attacks on the areas in southwestern Syria bordering Jordan and Golan Heights in an effort to dislodge the rebels from that area.

Earlier this week, Israel said it would not allow Syrians fleeing southern Syria to find refuge in territories under its control.

Nabaa Media, an opposition activist collective, said the latest government assault on the area killed several people in the previous 24 hours including a woman and her four children in a rebel-held village in Daraa.

State news agency SANA confirmed the that a deal had indeed been reached between the Syrian army and the rebels.

Both countries say they will not open their borders, but have distributed some supplies inside Syria.

The border crossing had been under rebel control for more than three years.

Fleeing civilians have mostly sought shelter along the frontiers with Israel and Jordan, which is already hosting some 650,000 Syrian refugees.

Syrian state media says government forces have reached a vital border crossing with Jordan and raised the national flag for the first time in years.

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Jordan has played a leading role in persuading Free Syrian Army rebels to reach a deal with Russian Federation.

Near the start of the government's offensive, Washington indicated it would respond to violations of that deal, but it has not done so yet and rebels said it had told them to expect no American military help.

In a statement issued on Friday, July 6, the joint opposition operations room for southern Syria said rebels agreed to a deal that includes their "gradual" surrender of heavy and medium weapons.

The people who left their towns and cities in Daraa will return to their homes, according to the deal.

He said there were concerns about the safety of the displaced Syrians returning home. The rebels' commanders had used the buildings as bases and offices, particularly as Jordan has closed its side of the border since 2015.

One of the arches that vehicles crossing the border used to pass under has partially collapsed, with its concrete blocks and metal bars jutting into the air.

The intense Syrian and allied Russian air strikes on Daraa and Quneitra provinces came to a halt as rebels made their announcement, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.

The military's next target in the southern offensive appears to be the parts of nearby Quneitra province in rebel hands at the Golan frontier.

Assad's Iran-backed allies are also fighting in the campaign, defying Israeli demands to keep out of the border area. The Norwegian Refugee Council has called this the largest displacement of Syria's seven-year war.

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