US Warns Syria of 'Firm' Action over Southern Offensive

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The US has warned Damascus it will take "firm" action if the regime of Bashar al-Assad violates a ceasefire deal, after Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets on a southern province ahead of an expected offensive.

Residents of Daraa told AFP Friday that several different leaflets were scattered across the province, which has borders with Israel and Jordan and is expected to be among the next targets in the resurgent regime's reconquest.

One of them, seen by a journalist contributing to AFP in the city of Daraa, includes a picture showing lined up bodies, presumably of anti-government fighters.

"This is the inevitable fate of anyone who insists on carrying arms," reads the leaflet.

The US State Department issued a statement late Friday saying it was "concerned" by the reports and that the area in question was within the boundaries of a de-escalation zone it had negotiated with Russia and Jordan last year.

"We also caution the Syrian regime against any actions that risk broadening the conflict or jeopardize the ceasefire," said spokeswoman Heather Nauert, adding that the ceasefire had been re-affirmed by President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Vietnam in November.

"As a guarantor of this de-escalation area with Russia and Jordan, the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Assad regime violations," she added.

Syrian regime and allied forces on Monday retook the Yarmuk area in southern Damascus, giving President Bashar al-Assad full control of the capital and its surroundings for the first time since 2012.

Daraa's location makes any broad operation there very sensitive, with Israel suspecting Damascus' Iranian allies of seeking to establish a military footprint closer to its borders.

Government and allied forces control about 30 percent of Daraa, the rest of which is held by various factions, including a small contingent of fighters from the Islamic State jihadist group.

Comments 7
Thumb s.o.s 26 May 2018, 13:54

This is the city the Hariri family comes from, what will Saad do or at least say? nothing as usual...

Thumb extraterrestrial.alien 26 May 2018, 14:12

These leaflets are a game changer.. also remember to redeem the enclosed 10% off coupon, valid at any participating Kinko's near you.

Thumb s.o.s 26 May 2018, 15:12

I was told that dropping leaflets is exactly what Israel used to do over southern Lebanon . So many similarities between the Assads and Sharon.

Thumb extraterrestrial.alien 26 May 2018, 16:16

Yup, with the dropping of leaflets the Syrian regime has now completed the circle of mimicking Israeli rhetoric and actions. Just let me make sure..
Israel: Those are fundamental Islamist terrorists we're fighting.
Syrian Regime: ✔
Israel: Our air forces in only bombing terrorist targets
Syrian Regime: ✔
Israel: Thank you our ally superpower for vetoing all UN resolutions condemning our criminal acts
Syrian Regime: ✔
Israel: Those dead children are actors
Syrian Regime: ✔
Israel: We will kill anyone who even tries to cross into the occupies Golan heights from the Syrian territory
Syrian Regime: ✔
Isreal: The terrorists are taking civilian human shields
Syrian Regime: ✔
Isreal: Those are not unarmed relief workers, those are terrorists in disguise
Syrian Regime: ✔
Israel: ✔
Syrian Regime: ✔
Israel: ✔
Syrian Regime: ✔
Israel: ✔
Syrian Regime: ✔
Yup, the circle has now been completed ✔. Congrats.

Thumb s.o.s 26 May 2018, 19:32

Check the check!

Thumb whyaskwhy 26 May 2018, 21:39

Lol. It's a psychological move to indicate fair warning and scare the inhabitants to leave. I am not if you noticed but the Russians have been extremely quiet after the had their nose put out of joint by the us attacking the Syrian airforce.

Thumb chrisrushlau 26 May 2018, 17:30

But Syria fundamentally fails to follow the Israel model of racism under law. Lebanon might consider an Israeli model, such as perhaps guaranteeing the Christian minority half the seats in Parliament. You could call it something like the Taef Accord to make it sound like this was not a French imposition.