270,000 Syrians ‘displaced by fighting in the southwest’

Home / 270,000 Syrians ‘displaced by fighting in the southwest’

More than a quarter of a million Syrians have been displaced in the last two weeks of heavy fighting in the country’s southwest, the UN has said.

Around 270,000 people have fled their homes since the Assad regime and its allies began their assault on the southern province of Deraa on June 19, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR). 

"Our latest update shows the figure of displaced across southern Syria has exceeded 270,000 people," a spokesman said. The numbers have jumped from 160,000 since last week. 

As regime forces pressed further into Deraa, some of the remaining rebel factions descended into bitter recriminations over whether to surrender or keep fighting against Assad’s superior military forces.

Some of the anger erupted after footage emerged of a rebel faction in the town of Busra al-Sham handing over armoured vehicles to Russian forces, prompting accusations that the faction was collaborating with Russia.

A commander with the rebel faction, known as Youth of the Sunnah, forcefully denounced those criticising him as “sons of b——" and said he had no choice but hand over the vehicles so that displaced civilians would be allowed back.

Thousands of civilians have fled towards the borders of Jordan and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. They have set up camps there in the hope that Assad’s forces will be deterred from attacking near the borders.

The offensive in the southwest, which has been relatively quiet throughout the seven years of Syria’s war, has added extra pressure on Jordan. 

Aid organisations have pleaded with Jordan to open its borders for new arrivals but Jordan’s government say it is already beyond capacity after taking in more than a million Syrian refugees. 

Ayman Safadi, Jordan’s foreign minister, is due to fly to Moscow on Tuesday for talks with Russia over a possible ceasefire in the south.

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