Talks in Syria between opposition forces and Russian regime allies broke down Wednesday with no further sessions having been set, according to rebel spokesperson Ibrahim Jabbawi.
What is ahead is unknown for fleeing #Daraa civilians but what lay behind was certain – death from the Regime-led massacre. They begin their pilgrimmage into uncertainty with meagre supples and young children in tow. There is no other choice. pic.twitter.com/m82X3KU20B
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) July 4, 2018
The offensive resumed against opposition forces Wednesday evening by the Syrian government and Russian military after negotiations failed to resolve the impasse between the two sides earlier in the day.
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.
Barely a week ago, Israel transferred a massive shipment of humanitarian aid into the region as part of its Operation “Good Neighbor” effort to help its neighbors across the border.
WATCH: Israel sends 300 tents, 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food, 3 pallets of medical equipment and medicine and 30 tons of clothes across the border as 120,000 Syrian flee from Deraa area, where Assad's army advances in battle against rebels. pic.twitter.com/pj3l1FKyMu
— 4IL (@4ILorg) June 29, 2018
Four air strikes were carried out on the Syrian town of Umm al-Mayadin in eastern Dara’a shortly after 10 pm local time. A few minutes earlier, two civilians were injured by a cluster bomb in southern Aleppo.
Syrian government forces shelled a number of Dara’a neighborhoods at around 8 pm, Syrian Civil Defense member Mahmood Adam reported. The attack took place about an hour after Russian military forces struck the city of Taras, in western Dara’a, according to independent Syrian journalist Hasan J’need.
The rebels refused to hand over their heavy arms along with surrender of the remaining territory under their control in the southern province of Dara’a.
Thus far, the regime has recaptured 60 percent of the province. Russia has offered to halt its offensive if the rebels hand over the remaining territory. In addition for a ceasefire, the rebels are negotiating for the regime to withdraw from towns it has already captured, and safe passage of opposition forces to other rebel-held territory for those fighters and civilians who don’t wish to live under regime control.
Rebels said they had agreed to hand over heavy weapons but would “keep the rest until a real political process” has begun, according to Al-Araby, which reported that Moscow rejected the proposal, saying population transfers were “not on the table in the south.”
A source close to the talks said the Russian delegation at the talks warned, “Today will be the last round – either the rebels agree to these terms, or the military operations resume,” with the military returning to pre-2011 positions and local police taking over towns in coordination with Russian military police.
The 12-hour ceasefire ended by 2 pm local time and bombs could be heard — and seen — from the Jordanian-Syrian border. The United Nations suspended its convoys, warning that hundreds of thousands more Syrians could be displaced in the south.
By midnight, the Russian air force had carried out at least 20 air strikes across the Dara’a region, according to Al-Masdar News.
The United Nations said the immediate needs of displaced Syrians near the border in Jordan include shelter, water, food, medical care and sanitation, with children at particular risk of dehydration and other problems. Some 270,000 Syrians have been displaced by the fighting in the southern region alone, according to the latest UN figures, adding to the millions of Syrians who have already been made homeless by the seven-year civil war raging in their land.