(June 27, 2018 / JNS) Thousands of Syrian civilians are fleeing to the Israeli border to escape the military bombardment of Syrian President Bashar Assad on rebel-held territories in Daraa province.
Up to 50,000 people have been displaced by airstrikes, with Jordan declaring that it has closed its borders to any new refugees. There are already approximately 660,000 registered Syrian refugees in Jordan, with hundreds of thousands more displaced persons.
The United Nations responded that warring parties should protect civilians, in accordance with international law.
While many refugees continue to make their way towards Jordan despite the country’s rejection, others are running to the Syrian border with Israel with the understanding that the Syrian regime and its Russian support apparatus would not dare to bomb so close to the Jewish state.
Israel does not admit Syrian refugees, but has treated thousands presenting with injuries from the seven-year civil war. The Israel Defense Forces said it would continue to monitor the situation on the border.
The new offensive in Daraa is believed to part of a larger push to regain control of the area and to retake control of a nearby border crossing with Jordan, which was captured by anti-Assad forces in 2015.
Israel has carried out multiple strikes in recent months against Iranian forces embedded in the country, wiping out several military bases, outposts and munitions facilities.
The United States has called on Russia to put a stop to what it called violations of a truce between pro-Assad and rebel troops. The United Nations World Food Program has begun delivering food supplies to refugees along the Syria-Jordan border.
A 2004 census numbered the residents of the southwestern Syrian city of Daraa at almost 98,000, but the suburban population comes to nearly 150,000.