Jumblat Slams Int'l Community, Arabs for 'Handing Over Daraa' to Regime


Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat on Wednesday accused the international community and the Arab League of “handing over” the southern Syrian province of Daraa to the Syrian regime.

“What a sad and tragic coincidence. After the peaceful uprising that Daraa's children staged seven years ago, and after legendary resilience in the face of the regime of brutality, the so-called international community and the futile Arab League are handing over Daraa to the jailer of torture, arrests, disappearances and murder,” Jumblat tweeted.

“Long live the resilience of Daraa's children,” he added.

Deadly air strikes pounded rebel-held towns across southern Syria on Wednesday, as relief groups sounded the alarm over a Russian-backed push for the region and its main city Daraa.

The south is meant to be protected by a ceasefire put in place last year by Russia, Jordan, and the United States, but Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has set his sights on retaking the area.

After a week of air strikes and artillery fire on rebel towns across Daraa province, his troops turned to the opposition-held half of the provincial capital on Tuesday.

The bombing continued into Wednesday, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Rebels hold a horseshoe-shaped band of territory in the south, and government troops have already isolated one end of it by capturing two strategic villages.

In that encircled zone, around 1,000 people have "regularized" their status with the government, according to state news agency SANA, including several hundred rebels who laid down their arms.

But in the nearby town of al-Nahta, captured Wednesday by the regime, rebels appeared to be resisting. A car bomb killed 12 regime forces there Wednesday afternoon, the Observatory said.

The U.N. has warned that more than 750,000 lives are at risk in the south, with more than 45,000 people already displaced.

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