Airstrikes pound southern Syria, causing thousands to flee

UN Warns of Humanitarian Catastrophe if Fighting Escalates in Daraa, Syria

Rebels remain in control of parts of the provincial capital Deraa City, where the Syrian uprising began in 2011.

Rebels controlling several towns in southern Syria were on Friday considering a deal for a regime takeover in exchange for an end to fierce bombing, state media and a monitor said.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 120,000 people have been displaced due to escalating bombardments against the rebels in Daraa.

Daraa Governorate, which is located at the intersection of Jordan, the occupied Golan region and Lebanon, was declared a de-escalation zone in July 2017, when a trilateral ceasefire agreement was reached, with the US, Russia and Jordan as guarantors. State TV broadcast scenes of what they said were locals celebrating the army's arrival in the formerly rebel-held town of Ibta and said rebels turned in their weapons.

But the talks, in the town of Bosra al-Sham, whose Roman citadel is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, collapsed as the insurgents rejected proposed terms for their surrender, a rebel spokesman said.

Speaking to Israel's Ynet news portal, one Syrian refugee said he and his family felt hopeless after being turned away at the border with Jordan, which has already taken in over half a million Syrian refugees, and turned toward Israel as a last resort. Numerous opposition areas that have been taken by state forces in recent days were taken as a result of local groups negotiating their own deals with the state with no involvement from rebel forces. So far, the US has remained silent in the face of a breach, and rebels are accusing them of making a "malicious deal" to remain silent.

"So, the opposition forces have withdrawn from the deal", Jabawi said, adding that the Russian side offered the opposition forces to hand over the whole of the southern part of Syria to the regime forces.

A schism appears to be forming among opposition authorities in southwestern Syria over ongoing negotiations with the Syrian government on Monday, after a prominent rebel faction reportedly agreed to a preliminary reconciliation deal with Russian negotiators on Sunday evening.

The regime has chipped away at rebel-held territory in Daraa since the escalation began nearly two weeks ago.

Negotiations between the opposition and rebel groups and Russian Federation come as United Nations chief Antonio Guterres renews call for an "immediate cessation" to regime operations in Daraa province.

"Most of the (people in) the eastern villages have fled to west Deraa and to Quneitra", said Abu Shaima, a Free Syrian Army rebel spokesman.

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