World|life|June 27, 2018 / 03:42 PM
45,000 flee as Syrian government advances into rebel enclave, prompting fears of wider conflict

AKIPRESS.COM - Syrian government forces advanced through southwestern Syria on Tuesday as tens of thousands of civilians fled ­Syrian and Russian airstrikes, ­piling onto trucks and heading deeper into rebel-held territory.

With violence escalating, diplomats and experts warn that the pocket could become a geopolitical tinderbox capable of destabilizing neighboring Jordan and triggering a wider conflict between Israel and Iran, Washington Post reported.

A cease-fire agreement between the United States, Russia and Jordan had largely kept the peace for months while the Syrian army focused on rebel-held regions closer to the capital, Damascus.

But with those conquered, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have turned their attention to Syria’s southwest, with help in recent days from Russian airstrikes.

On Tuesday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that forces loyal to Assad had taken control of the town of Busra al-Harir and the nearby Lajat area, prompting an exodus of families and cutting the rebels’ stronghold in half.

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