More than 300,000 Syrians homeless in latest regime offensive

Nearly all displaced Syrians at the Nassib-Jaber crossing have left the Jordanian border and returned to Syria, Anders Pedersen, the United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator in Jordan, said on Sunday, Reuters reported.

Upon reaching the Nasib border crossing between Syria and Jordan, the rebels' red-white-black flag with three red stars in the middle used to seen painted on every roadblock and nearly all walls.

"More than 320,000 people are now displaced and most are living in dire and insecure conditions, including some 60,000 people camped at the Nasib/Jaber border crossing with Jordan", UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi said, in a statement.

The army, which had deployed more armoured vehicles in the area, has set in motion "contingency plans to face any eventuality" as the Syrian government offensive closes in on the Nasib crossing, diplomatic sources said.

Hours later, state news agency SANA said troops captured Um al-Mayadeen after a battle with opposition fighters.

Many are now returning after a recent deal between the army and rebels.

Syrian regime forces are seen in Nassib border crossing with Jordan in Deraa on Friday.

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.

It's been seven months since Putin ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria, saying "the Russian armed forces, together with the Syrian army, have defeated the most lethal group of global terrorists".

It was too early to tell what sort of impact the truce might have, she said, but there was urgent need to get water and shelter for the displaced.

Israel's military said it struck a Syrian army post that had shelled a buffer zone on the Golan frontier during fighting with rebels in southern Syria.

It is also one of the main concessions gained by neighbouring Jordan, which is fearful that Shia militias fighting alongside government forces will gain control of the area on its northern border.

Amman has played a leading role in getting Syrian rebels to agree to terms of surrender that include stationing of Russian military police in the south. Rebels hope the Russians will guarantee the safety of civilians from state retribution.

The territorial gain is the latest victory for Assad, who has scored a string of successes with the backing of Russian Federation and Iran and now dominates some 60% of the country.

Mr Assad is also aiming to recover control of rebel-held areas of Quneitra province at the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria's war started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

An opposition commander with Jaish al-Janoub told Syria Direct on Monday that rebel fighters were still "stationed on the frontlines" with pro-government forces, but were not sure what would happen next.

  • Jon Douglas