Syria Rebels Declare Cease-fire in South; Israel Strikes Assad Regime Outpost

Israel retaliates after missile crashes in buffer zone; rebels in south agree to lay down arms and hand over key crossing

Syrian refugee tents across the border in the Golan Heights
Gil Eliyahu

The Israeli army attacked an outpost in southern Syria on Friday after it launched a missile that crashed in the buffer zone east of the border with Israel.

The missile was fired during clashes between Bashar Assad's regime forces and the rebels, according to Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson's Unit. No casualties were reported in Syria.

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Earlier Friday, the military evacuated a 50-year-old Syrian man with harsh gunshot wounds to Ziv Medical Center in Safed. Four additional Syrian nationals were taken to the center overnight, among them a three-year-old suffering from Anemia and a pregnant woman.

Israeli forces have provided humanitarian aid to Syrian villagers and internally displaced refugees across the Golan in a bid to keep the frontier quiet. Israel beefed up its tank and artillery deployment on the Golan Heights frontier with Syria on Sunday, cautioning Damascus' forces to keep a distance as they sweep rebel-held areas over the border.

Rebels in south to lay down arms, hand over crossing

Meanwhile, rebels in south Syria said Friday that they will hand over their weapons as part of an agreement struck with President Bashar Assad's regime with Russian mediation.

According to the rebels, Assad's military will also take control of areas that were in the hands of ISIS in the region where the Syrian, Israeli and Jordanian borders meet.

A commander in the regional alliance supporting Assad had earlier said government forces were advancing through rebel territory along Syria’s frontier with Jordan and would soon reach the countries’ main border crossing.

Assad aims to recapture the entire southwest including the frontiers with the Israeli Golan Heights and Jordan. The area is one of the last rebel strongholds in Syria after more than seven years of war.

With no sign of intervention by his foreign foes, Assad seems set for another big victory in the war after crushing the last remaining rebel bastions near Damascus and Homs.

After four days of reduced bombardment, intense air strikes resumed on Wednesday following the collapse of talks between insurgent groups and Russian officers that were brokered by Jordan.

The two-week offensive, backed by massive Russian air power, has taken a large chunk of rebel territory northeast of the provincial capital of Deraa, as a string of towns surrendered.

The fighting and air strikes have already driven around 320,000 people from their homes, including 60,000 in camps along the border with Jordan, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Thursday. The Observatory said 150 civilians have been killed.