Israel Warns Syrians Away From Frontier as Assad Closes In

Frederick Owens
July 19, 2018

They have stepped up their military offensive on the remaining opposition pockets in the southwestern region that includes Daraa and Quneitra provinces that straddle the border with Jordan and the frontier with the Israeli Golan Heights. "The worse the siege becomes, the bigger the amount of fires, and they will reach greater distances". Israeli media reported that Israeli soldiers shouted through loudspeakers asking the crowd to turn back.

Syria's conflict has killed more than 350,000 people since it started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests. In less than a month, regime forces backed by Russian air power have been able to seize control of most of southwestern Daraa province, including the provincial capital of the same name.

Israel has repeatedly said it will not allow Iran, or its Shiite proxies, to establish a permanent presence in postwar Syria that could threaten the Jewish state. This was a popular site to flee to during fighting in nearby areas.

Khaled Solh, head of the local Syria Civil Defense known as White Helmets, said they have documented 14 people killed while Nawa's only hospital was bombed and rendered non-operational on late Tuesday.

Last week Liberman reiterated Israel's concerns, stressing that the "the Iranian presence in Syria is unreasonable, and we are not prepared to accept an Iranian presence in Syria anywhere, and as you have heard a couple of times, we will act against any Iranian consolidation in Syria". Just minutes ago, they brought the bodies of small children whose bodies were shattered. We are seeking a safe place to live.

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In addition to talks between each country's security establishments, working groups in Israel and Russian Federation have been studying issues such as the no-man's land, demilitarized zones and the deployment of Israeli and Syrian forces on both sides of the border, the Kan public broadcaster reported Wednesday. Israeli aid, transferred by global humanitarian groups, flows across a 1974 armistice line to a United Nations -monitored buffer zone where numerous refugees are encamped, hoping Assad's army will steer clear.

Israel has threatened a harsh response to any attempt by Syrian forces to deploy in the zone, complicating the government offensive as it draws closer to the frontier.

Israel signaled it would not impede the Syrian army offensive in Quenitra as long as it steered away from the demilitarized zone, even as it struck Syrian army posts near the frontier and elsewhere in Syria where it suspects Iranian backed forces are stationed.

SOHR chief said regime forces had ousted rebels from Al Tiha in a military advance, while opposition forces in Al Hara had agreed a surrender deal.

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