Israel, Jordan Won't Accept Any Syrian Refugees

Israel, Jordan Won't Accept Any Syrian Refugees

Israel, Jordan Won't Accept Any Syrian Refugees

Talks between the Syrian opposition and Russian negotiators to reach a ceasefire in an opposition and rebel-held town in southwestern Syria have resumed after mediation by Jordan, an opposition spokesman said.

A picture taken on June 30, 2018, from the Israeli Golan Heights shows a tractor-led trailer carrying civilians arriving at a camp for displaced Syrians near the Syrian village of Burayqah in the southern province of Quneitra, just across the border from Israel.

Responding to the recent developments, he said Israel now has two options - open its border, or push the worldwide community to create a zone in the southern part of Syria where Israel can bring in medical and other support for those who are fleeing the fighting.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russian airstrikes, are in the midst of a final push to recapture territory held by various rebel groups.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday that negotiations between the Russians and the representatives of towns in the eastern countryside of Daraa achieved great progress. The southwest rebels did not accept this, and were instead proposing the return of civilian state institutions in the opposition areas and the entry of Russian military police rather than Syrian government forces.

Israel in recent days has dispatched massive humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees fleeing Assad's advancing army and has treated six wounded Syrians in Israeli hospitals.

But much of the province - including part of the provincial capital Deraa city - still remains in the hands of rebels not willing to give up the fight.

Jordan has been facilitating the talks to end the fighting, which has brought thousands of families seeking safety to its border.

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The Israeli military said Sunday it would be reinforcing troops along the frontier with Syria and stepping up its humanitarian efforts in the area amid a fierce Syrian government offensive that has displaced thousands of people.

The stream of refugees fleeing the battlegrounds in southern Syria towards the borders with Jordan and Israel swelled last weekend, as their number grew to 160,000, according to the UN.

Both Jordan, which already hosts more than half a million Syrian refugees, and Israel, have said their borders will stay shut.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein warned that many civilians risk being trapped between government forces, rebels, and Islamic State which has a small foothold there - an outcome he said would be a "catastrophe".

"Regarding southern Syria, we will continue to defend our borders", he said.

It is estimated that as many as 115 civilians have been killed in regime bombardments on the province since 19 June.

The chief Syrian opposition negotiator Nasr Al Hariri has decried "US silence" over the offensive and said only a "malicious deal" could explain the lack of a United States response.

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