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Syrian government forces retake strategic border crossing, marking big victory for Assad | The Cube

Syrian government forces retake strategic border crossing, marking big victory for Assad | The Cube
By Rachael Kennedy
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Syrian government forces retake strategic border crossing as opposition surrender southwestern Daraa province


Syrian government forces and its Russian allies announced an agreed ceasefire with rebels in the southwestern Daraa province at the start of the weekend, marking the latest victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

As part of the deal, pro-government forces have for the first time in three years taken control of the Nasib border crossing with Jordan, which once served as a flourishing trade route and benefitted the likes of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the Gulf states.

Pro-government media published from the Nasib border crossing

While this is positive news for Assad and his allies, just 8 kilometres south of the Nasib crossing lies the Jordanian-Syrian Joint Industrial Free Zone, where thousands of internally displaced Syrians have fled the recent fighting, and have been left pinned between ongoing battles, airstrikes, and the sealed Jordanian border.

Internally displaced civilians at the Jordanian-Syrian Joint Industrial Free Zone

The United Nations estimated on July 5 that up 325,000 people had been displaced by the recent fighting, 59,000 of which had fled toward Syria's border with Jordan. This, in turn, led the international community to call for Jordan to reopen their border to those stranded by the fighting.

Jordanian journalist Suha Ma-ayeh quoted a Syrian woman stranded at the Jordan-Syria border, saying she wasn't interested in supplies and aid being sent through from Jordan. "I want safety," she said. "Please let us in."

By Sunday, thousands of people were reported to have left the border, which remains closed, after the government's recapture of the Nasib crossing. The direction in which people were headed, however, was unclear. A UN spokesperson was quoted as saying there were concerns over the security of the civilians trying to return home, some of whom have no home to return to.

Human Rights Watch's Kenneth Roth said the offensive on Daraa was just "the latest example of Syrian-Russian forces accepting "a de-escalation zone," which was in effect until a fortnight ago, "to enable them to focus their firepower elsewhere, only to return later to attack civilians and civilian institutions like hospitals and take over the area".

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