Israeli missiles land near Damascus airport

Israeli missiles land near Damascus airport

Israeli missiles land near Damascus airport

In the first big advance in the southwest, government forces seized a chunk of rebel-held territory including the town of Busra al-Harir in northeastern Deraa province, media controlled by Lebanon's Hezbollah and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Tuesday.

Two Israeli missiles struck near Damascus global airport overnight, Syrian state media reported, hitting a weapons depot according to a conflict monitor.

The regime has started bombarding the city of Daraa, the provincial capital which it partly controls, but has focussed its ground offensive so far on rural areas in the east.

For a week, regime forces have ramped up their bombardment of countryside areas in the southern province of Deraa, which the United Nations says has forced 45,000 people to flee.

To tackle the Israeli "aggression", the Syrian president vowed to continue building up the country's air defenses.

Leaflets dropped Monday warned residents the army was coming and urged civilians to "kick out the terrorists" and to "cooperate" with the government forces.

Syrian government forces widened a major offensive against rebels in the southwest today and Jordan said it would not open its border to tens of thousands of civilians fleeing the attack.

When contacted by AFP news agency, a spokesman for the Israeli army said: "We do not comment on foreign reports".

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"There is no presence of displaced people at our border and the movement has been toward the inside", Ayman Safadi also said in a Twitter posting.

"A crippling six-year-long siege, with intensive bombing and shelling, caused a humanitarian crisis inside Eastern Ghouta", a suburb of Damascus, Bettina Luescher, U.N. World Food Program (WFP) spokeswoman, separately told a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday.

Jordan has offered a refuge to more than 1.3 million Syrians fleeing the raging conflict at home, more than 85 per cent of whom live in host communities outside camps.

"We are following up closely on the situation in southern Syria, and we are working with the Americans and the Russians to reach a deal to protect our national interests", she said.

The World Food Program put the number of displaced from the Daraa fighting at almost 50,000, saying it delivered urgently-needed food across the Syria-Jordan border.

Jordan said its borders will remain closed for any new refugees, calling on the provide security in southern Syria.

Jordanian officials on Monday said talks were ongoing to protect a de-escalation zone created in southwestern parts of Syria under a deal reached between Jordan, the United States and Russian Federation in 2016.

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