60 Syrians Killed in Assad Army Bombardment on Southwest, Rebels Say

Medical personnel tell Sky News that women and children were among those killed. According to reports, the massive assaults were carried out in response to the refusal of the rebels in the region to surrender

Smoke rises above rebel-held areas of the city of Daraa during airstrikes by Syrian regime forces on June 30, 2018
MOHAMAD ABAZEED/AFP

Opposition leaders in southern Syria reported Sunday morning that 60 civilians had been killed over the previous 24 hours by Syrian army bombardments and Russian airstrikes in the city of Daraa and surrounding villages and towns.

Medical personnel told Sky News in Arabic that women and children were among those killed. According to reports, the massive assaults were carried out in response to the refusal of the rebels to surrender in those places.

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An officer in the Free Syrian Army said that Jordanian-brokered negotiations had failed after the opposition rejected an offer by the Russians that was more of a surrender than a reconciliation agreement between the two sides.

A spokesman for the opposition, Ibrahim Jibawi, told Al Jazeera that the Russian demand was for the opposition to give up all weapons, including light weapons, to allow Russian military police to enter communities and villages and to station forces identified with the Syrian regime at checkpoints. The Russian also wanted the rebels to hand over all government officers to the Syrian army and resolve the status of Syrian regime soldiers and officers who had defected to the rebels.

The opposition leadership in Syria called Saturday night on the international community to intervene immediately to stop the actions of the regime against civilians. The opposition said it would not enter any diplomatic process in Syria in which Russia and Iran were involved.

According to the opposition, the only plan that could be advanced now would be through the United Nations Security Council, although opposition spokesmen concede that the international community has come to terms with the defeat in Syria.

Meanwhile, the Syrian news agency and media associated with the regime continue to broadcast footage from the eastern suburb of Daraa, showing people rejoicing at the arrival of the Syrian army and waving pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

According to the reports, the Syrian army is advancing from village to village. In some places they enter unopposed after the status of armed men has been addressed and the acceptance of conditions presented by the Russians. Eight villages have so far surrendered under these conditions.

Meanwhile, Jordan has announced it was providing humanitarian aid to refugees approaching its border, although it will not let them into the kingdom. Government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat said that Jordan’s policy was to assist the refugees from within Syrian territory and called on international aid groups to intervene immediately to help the refugees.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that the Jordanian government would continue its contacts will all sides with the goal of achieving a ceasefire in southern Syria and move ahead toward a diplomatic solution. “The uprooting of Syrian citizens can be avoided and the stream of refugees halted by supporting them in Syria and we are working to resolve the crisis created by others,” Safadi wrote on his Twitter account.