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World View: Tens of Thousands Fleeing Syrian Bombs Trapped at Closed Jordan Border

The Associated Press

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Tens of thousands fleeing Syrian bombs trapped at closed Jordan border
  • Israeli missiles strike Iranian cargo plane near Damascus

Tens of thousands fleeing Syrian bombs trapped at closed Jordan border

Area of Daraa after Syrian bombing (Sky News)
Area of Daraa after Syrian bombing (Sky News)

Daraa province in southwestern Syria is facing a new humanitarian crisis as the regime of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad steps up ground attacks, backed up by airstrikes from Russian warplanes.

Following the usual pattern, al-Assad treats all the people in the region – including ordinary civilians, women, and children – as “terrorists” and uses that as a justification for genocide and ethnic cleansing. The attack on Daraa has just begun in the last week and is targeting 750,000 people in Daraa.

Already, 45,000 people had been forced to leave their homes and flee. Last week, it was reported that tens of thousands fled into Jordan to escape the violence. However, reports in the last few days indicate that Jordan has closed its border, and the Daraa residents are trapped inside Syria as regime forces and Russian warplanes close in.

When Jordan closed the border in 2014, it led to a humanitarian crisis as some 60,000 people were forced into a lawless ad-hoc camp, inaccessible to any medical or humanitarian aid and controlled by exploitative criminal gangs.

Amnesty International has warned Jordan of the “dire consequences” that resulted from the previous closure of the border and said tens of thousands were still stranded in “deplorable” conditions. A spokesman said that Jordan has a duty to open the border:

Jordan has a duty to protect refugees from Syria fleeing conflict and persecution, and to allow them to enter the country. Closing the border to people in need of protection violates Jordan’s international obligations.

Syrian forces are remaining in Daraa province so far, and have not gone farther west into neighboring Quneitra province, which is on the border with Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Israel is watching these movements very closely, because the Syrian army could attack targets in Israel from Quneitra, resulting in a larger war. Israel has already made it clear that it will not tolerate Iranian or Hezbollah forces near the Golan border, and has previously targeted Iranian weapons systems and other Iranian targets approaching the border.

The U.S. is receiving some criticism for having apparently set a red line last week, when the U.S. State Department announced that if Syria and Russia broke the ceasefire in Daraa, there would be “firm and appropriate measures,” and is now backing down by notifying the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that they should not expect any support from the US military. Sky News and Reuters and Washington Post and Independent (London)

Israeli missiles strike Iranian cargo plane near Damascus

Syrian state media says that two Israeli missiles struck targets near Damascus airport early on Tuesday morning. Other sources claim that the missiles an Iranian cargo plane, which was landing at Damascus International Airport.

It is not clear whether they were ground to ground missiles or launched from a warplane. Israel has followed its usual policy of not commenting on foreign news reports.

Debka is reporting that the missiles hit an Iranian air force Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane unloading munitions at Damascus military airport early Tuesday. The explosions caused the plane to burst into flame with a number of unidentified casualties. Debka’s reports are written from Israel’s point of view, based on military and intelligence sources that provide valuable insights. However, as usual, I have to warn readers that they definitely do get some things wrong. Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA, Damascus) and Al-Jazeera and Debka

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Daraa province, Jordan, Quneitra province, Free Syrian Army, FSA, Israel, Golan Heights, Iran, Hezbollah
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