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Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Waving White Flags, Syrian Crowd Turned Away By Israel

Waving White Flags, Syrian Crowd Turned Away By Israel

The government's push came after it had secured control of most of Daraa province in an offensive that began in June.

The AFP correspondent said the buses were searched by Russian military forces before setting off just after midday for the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib.

Since June, Syrian troops and allied forces have seized control of most of Daraa province, including the eponymous provincial capital which was the cradle of the uprising against President Bashar Assad seven years ago.

Rebels said Russian and Syrian jets intensively bombed a string of rebel-held towns in Quneitra to force them to surrender in a strategy that offers rebels the choice of either evacuating to opposition-held areas or being recruited into state-run militias.

The latest assault began as Hossein Jaberi Ansari, an... Assad's office said the two agreed that the "elimination of terrorism in most of the Syrian territory has laid the most appropriate ground to reach results at the political level" that could put an end to Syria's war.

The intensity of the bombardment was such that dozens sought refuge in Israel despite the country's status as an archenemy of Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu huddled with President TrumpDonald John TrumpReporters defend CNN's Acosta after White House says he "disrespected" Trump with question Security costs of Trump visit to Scotland sparks outrage among Scottish citizens Ex-CIA officer: Prosecution of Russians indicted for DNC hack "ain't ever going to happen" MORE on Saturday to discuss Syria and Iraq ahead of the USA president's planned summit with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Syria is expected to feature highly on the agenda. Government fighters waved rifles and held aloft pictures of Assad as they celebrated on camera from the location, al-Haara hill.

In Daraa, the evacuation deal will hand over areas held by the rebels for years back to government control.

Since early Sunday, government forces turned their missiles toward a stretch of land controlled by the armed opposition in northern Daraa and the countryside of adjacent Quneitra.

"The bombardment started from 03.00 (midnight GMT) and continued for the last six hours", said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A top foreign policy adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei said Friday after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that Iranian forces will remain in Syria despite protests from Israel and the Trump administration.

Syrian state television confirmed the transfers had begun, broadcasting images of white buses they said were carrying the fighters, their blue curtains drawn, surrounded by military forces.

Government troops are also seeking to advance on another town to the south through negotiations with rebels there. Islamic State-affiliated militants also occupy a pocket on the Jordanian border.

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