Mideast Daily News

Syrian Refugees Converge On Israel’s Border As Assad Regime Offensive Rages On

By Charles Bybelezer | The Media Line

July 18, 2018

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Approximately 200 Syrian civilians, some waving white flags, converged on the border fence with Israel on Tuesday before being ordered away by Israeli forces. “You are on the border of the state of Israel. Go back. We don’t want to hurt you,” an Israel soldier was captured by a television crew shouting in Arabic through a loudspeaker. Israel has made clear that it will not absorb any Syrian refugees, although Jerusalem is providing humanitarian assistance to those in need. The Syrians were attempting to escape an ongoing offensive by Bashar al-Assad’s army and allied fighters, backed by Russian air power, to retake rebel-held territory in the southern part of the country. Thus far, Damascus has recaptured dozens of villages in the Deraa province; the primary border crossing with Jordan; and, on Sunday, Tel al-Harra, a strategically important hill along the frontier with Israel. Tens of thousands of displaced Syrians have taken shelter in the Golan Heights buffer zone—an area monitored by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force—delineated by the 1974 ceasefire deal between Israel and Syria that officially ended the war waged a year earlier. Jerusalem repeatedly has stressed the imperative of upholding the Separation of Forces Agreement, a position that is backed by both Russia and the United States.

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