JEDDAH: At least 25 civilians died in Russian airstrikes on rebel-held towns in southern Syria on Friday, the bloodiest day yet of the Assad regime’s offensive in Daraa.
Nearly 100 civilians have been killed since the assault began on June 19 with airstrikes, rocket fire and crude barrel bombs.
Reports of a cease-fire on Friday night could not be confirmed, but up to eight opposition-held towns were in negotiations over a regime takeover.
“There are talks between the Russians on one side and opposition factions on the other, through local mediators,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor.
The Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah, which has fought alongside Syrian regime forces in the south, said the opposition was “collapsing.”
Opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi told Arab News: “The Israelis continue to talk against the presence of Iranian militias in Syria, but it appears some kind of coordination has developed between Israel, Russia and the US vis-a-vis Iran.”
The reason for the continued violence was Moscow’s insistence that the regime control the whole of Syria, he said.
“It is illogical since the north and the northeast are dominated by the US and Turkey.”
He said Iranian militias wearing the uniform of the Damascus regime were fanning chaos, but Russia and Iran could not stay in Syria for ever. “The moment one of them is out, the regime disappears,” he said.