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Syria regime pounds south, rebel evacuations postponed

AFP  |  Beirut 

Regime forces bombarded today, as the evacuation of rebel fighters under a ceasefire deal for the region was postponed, a monitor and an said.

Opposition fighters in the southern province of announced a ceasefire deal late Friday with regime ally to end more than two weeks of deadly regime bombardment.

Under that deal, rebels who wished to do so were to leave areas in the strategic southern province to be retaken by Bashar al-Assad's regime. But today morning, regime air strikes killed four civilians, said the for Human Rights.

Syrian warplanes pounded just five kilometres (three miles) north of the Jordanian border, killing three civilians, said the Britain-based monitor. "Regime forces launched an assault on the village," Observatory said, two days after they retook control of the key border crossing of Nassib to the south.

Earlier, rebel fire on a regime convoy on the highway near had killed several soldiers, said, without providing a toll. A regime air strike on the rebel-held half of the provincial capital of also killed one civilian, he said.

A rebel said the evacuation of opposition fighters and their families to rebel-held areas in was temporarily put on hold.

"A hundred buses were supposed to arrive but (the operation) has been postponed to a later date, in around two days," the said.

"There was an exchange of fire between both sides and the first (wave) has been postponed." The regime bombardment campaign on rebel-held areas in since June 19 had killed more than 160 civilians and displaced tens of thousands of people.

Many had fled the violence south towards the closed border with Jordan, setting up makeshift tents for shelter in the arid fields along the frontier.

After the deal announcement on Friday, thousands headed home towards their towns and villages, according to the Observatory.

Since intervened by Assad's side in Syria's conflict in 2015, the regime has notched up a series of victories against rebels and jihadists in the country.

Regime forces, who secured the capital earlier this year, now control more than 60 percent of the country, the Observatory says.

Syria's war has killed 350,000 people and displaced millions since it started with the brutal repression of anti-Assad protests in 2011.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, July 08 2018. 14:20 IST