Published: Wed, July 04, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Jordan's PM visits border shut to displaced Syrians

Jordan's PM visits border shut to displaced Syrians

But just under half of Daraa province - including part of the provincial capital of the same name - still remains in the hands of rebels, and the United Nations is putting the numbers of internally displaced at over 160,000.

Daraa Governorate, which is located at the intersection of Jordan, the occupied Golan region and Lebanon, was declared a de-escalation zone in July 2017, when a trilateral ceasefire agreement was reached, with the US, Russia and Jordan as guarantors.

Rebels said they had taken back several towns and villages lost to the army earlier in the day, but their overall loss of ground was still significant.

The number of people who have fled Syria's southwestern city of Daraa to the border areas near Jordan and Israel due to fierce Assad regime attacks now stands at some 150,000, Syria's White Helmets civil-defense agency said Friday.

Syrian rebels met with Russian Federation in Bosra Al Sham Saturday to negotiate a peace deal, but Ibrahim Jabawi, a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, announced that they were unable to reach an agreement because rebels were unwilling to accept Russia's demand for surrender.

Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat said Amman is communicating with most of the parties to the Syrian crisis, mainly Russian Federation and the USA, in an attempt to reach a cease-fire.

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Negotiations between the Syrian opposition groups and Russian Federation on Saturday could not end with a peace deal in the southern Daraa province.

The chief Syrian opposition negotiator Nasr al-Hariri has decried "U.S. silence" over the offensive and said only a "malicious deal" could explain the lack of a USA response.

Damascus and Moscow are pushing for a deal that would see regime forces take over the Naseeb border crossing with Jordan and deploy along the frontier with the Golan Heights, he said. Despite Washington's threats that it would respond to breaches of that arrangement, it has shown no sign of doing so, and the opposition's top negotiator on Thursday accused it of having struck a "malicious deal" to stay silent.

Talks failed on Saturday after a meeting in which Russian officers met the rebel team and demanded a complete surrender, rebels said.

Opposition negotiators said they would only accept a deal that made Jordan a guarantor for the safety of Deraa province's 800,000 civilians and added that continued air strikes during the talks undermined trust in the process. So far, about 100 civilians have been killed in air raids and shelling since June 19, it said.

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