Assad presses assault in southwest Syria, civilians flee

Assad presses assault in southwest Syria, civilians fleeBy Tom Perry BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian government forces pounded rebel-held areas of the southwest with artillery on Thursday, in a steady escalation by President Bashar al-Assad who has vowed to win back the area bordering Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 12,500 civilians had fled the town of Busra al-Hariri and nearby areas of Deraa province in the last two days. The United States has warned it would take “firm and appropriate measures” in response to government violations of a “de-escalation” deal it brokered with Russia last year to contain the conflict in the southwest.



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