Syrian army says it captures strategic hill overlooking Israeli border

Syrian army says it captures strategic hill overlooking Israeli border

Syrian army says it captures strategic hill overlooking Israeli border

Tens of thousands of Syrians have thronged to the Golan in the past month, fleeing a rapidly advancing offensive which has defeated rebels across a swathe of territory near Jordan and Israel and generated pressure on both neighbours to extend aid.

"Syrian regime forces captured the town of al Hara, as well as Samlin, Al Tiha and Zimrin", said the Britain-based war monitor's chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

Now that the Syrian army controls much of these high points in Daraa, "the surrounding areas have also fallen [to the government]", the commander added.

The monitor said an estimated 1,400 people were expected to be evacuated on Sunday.

With government artillery perched on Daraa's mountaintops, "the shrinking pocket still under opposition control is now in the cross-hairs of the regime's artillery", Elizabeth Tsurkov, a Chicago-based research fellow at the Forum for Regional Thinking, told Syria Direct on Wednesday.

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"Creating safety for Israel is something both Putin and I would like to see very much", Trump said. Rebels there have yet to agree to a reconciliation deal with Damascus.

The subject of Syria and Iran's involvement in the country was also on the agenda during a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

Iran, which backs Assad against the mainly Sunni insurgents and has expanded its military role in Syria, has long taken an interest in the fate of its co-religionists in the two towns.

Syrian government forces have launched a brutal bombardment of the region around Quneitra in an effort to force the surrender of rebel groups that still control territory in the region.

On June 19, after securing Damascus and outlying areas of the capital, regime forces - backed by Russian Federation - launched an offensive against Deraa.

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Quneitra province borders the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights.

Syria's southern border is a prized region for almost all stakeholders in Syria's war due to its strategic geographical position bordering both Jordan and the Israel, while also lying in close proximity to Damascus.

Mr Abdel Rahman said that unlike in Deraa, fighter planes had not been used in the Quneitra offensive and that Russian Federation was not yet taking part.

"We have no problem with the Assad regime", Netanyahu was quoted as saying.

Explosions sent up smoke a few kilometres (miles) further within Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad's offensive has triggered the single biggest displacement of the war - several hundred thousand people.

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Israel has repeatedly called for the continued enforcement of the 1974 Israel-Syria Separation of Forces Agreement, which demarcates a demilitarized zone inside of Syria along the border with Israel, under United Nations supervision.

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