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10 July 2018, 12:39 | Tara Lloyd
EPA-EFE YOUSSEF BADAWI
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.
The Observatory said that with the capture of Saida, Syrian troops are now about 4 miles from the Naseeb border crossing with Jordan, one of the main goals of the offensive.
Meanwhile, in eastern Syria a booby-trapped vehicle exploded late Friday in the village of al Basira, in the eastern countryside of Deir al Zour, which is controlled by USA -backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF.
The fighting and air strikes have already driven more than a quarter of million people in southwest Syria from their homes, the United Nations said on Monday, seeking shelter along the frontiers with Jordan and Israel.
They are the second batch of refugees from the Arsal area to return to Syria in a repatriation organized by the Lebanese General Security, which describes it as a voluntary return.
"Once again, Russian Federation is justifying a military offensive by the Assad regime by saying that more than half the de-escalation zone is controlled by terrorists".
Syrian government forces took up positions and raised state flags at the Nassib border crossing with Jordan on Saturday, celebrating the recapture of a key trade route that rebels held for three years.
But in the western countryside, several groups rejected the deals and instead formed the so-called the Army of the South to confront the Syrian army.
The deal will take place in phases across Deraa, but there is no timeline yet, a rebel official said.
A regime air strike on the rebel-held half of the provincial capital of Daraa also killed one civilian, the Observatory said.
But even amongst rebels who have agreed to Friday's deal it is unclear precisely how the terms of the deal will unfold in the coming days.
"The solution is political and the protection of civilians, preventing their displacement and saving the (Syrian) brothers more suffering is everyone's responsibility", he wrote.
On the opposition side, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the government has become in control over 72.4 percent of Daraa while the rebels' control has shrunk to 21 percent, adding that a rebel group allied with the Islamic State (IS) controls 6.6 percent of Daraa.
Mr Assad is also aiming to recover control of rebel-held areas of Quneitra province at the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
It caps a series of government victories nationwide since Russian Federation intervened in 2015 on Assad's side, including for the former rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus earlier this year.
Rebel sources said Russian Federation would guarantee the safe return of civilians who fled the government offensive in the biggest exodus of the war, with 320,000 people uprooted.
US -backed and Kurdish-led forces seized the town from the Islamic State group in 2016, but Turkey views the Kurdish fighters as terrorists due to their links to insurgents across the border and has demanded they withdraw.
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