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Israel Warns Syrians Away From Frontier as Assad Closes In

20 Juillet 2018

Backed by Russian air power and unopposed by Assad's foreign adversaries, government forces have swept through southwestern Syria in the last month in one of the swiftest campaigns of the war, forcing surrender on massively outgunned rebels.

Dozens of Syrians waving white flags and seeking refuge near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights were turned away by Israeli soldiers, according to a local journalist and video from Reuters.

State news agency SANA said it had preliminary information on a deal for the army to return to its pre-2011 positions, before conflict erupted in the area, but did not provide more details.

The Israeli military later confirmed it had carried out the airstrike, claiming that it targeted members of the Hamas resistance movement who were about to launch incendiary balloons over the border into occupied territories. Both Israel and Jordan have said they will not allow Syrians to cross into their territory.

The Observatory said government forces advanced on Massharah, a village in Quneitra, and rebels fought back in intense clashes that killed several pro-government fighters.

They added: "Let history record that the Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails went on a hunger strike in order to secure their rights from the Palestinian leadership, which should protect them".

In 1981 Israel unilaterally adopted its sovereignty over the Golan heights. The bombings are very close to the Syrian side of the demilitarized zone set up along the Israeli border after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

"The Israelis are saying that he and three others, at least two of which were travelling on motorbikes, were involved in launching more of these balloons", he said. Israeli media reported that Israeli soldiers shouted through loudspeakers, asking the crowd to turn back. Russian Federation is supporting Assad's forces in its military campaigns around Syria.

Israel has been on high alert in recent weeks as Mr Assad's forces have tackled rebel-held areas of southern Syria.

The group is among tens of thousands of Syrians who have arrived near the frontier over the past month following renewed fighting along the country's southern Deraa and Quneitra provinces.

Lebanon's Hezbollah fights in Syria in support of Assad.

Ahmad al-Dbis, UOSSM safety and security manager, said another 35 people had been wounded in the attack which he said had hit a school.

Rebels said it amounts to forced displacement of Assad's opponents from main urban centres in western Syria and engenders demographic change because most of Syria's population, are Sunni.

Israel Warns Syrians Away From Frontier as Assad Closes In