Syrian government shelling on a rebel-held southern region has killed at least six civilians, hours after the US warning not to jeopardize talks on the area’s fate, a monitoring group said on Friday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the casualties, who included two children, who were killed during the shelling on two villages in the north of Daraa province.
The Observatory said Friday’s shelling had caused the highest civilian toll since the de-escalation deal reached almost a year ago.
The Britain-based monitor, which relies on a large network of sources inside Syria, said the shelling came from army positions that had recently received reinforcements.
Eid child a corpse under the rubble
The shelling which happened on the first day of Eid al-Fitr celebrations, killed at least six civilians, among them a nine -year-old child who was eager to celebrate Eid with his peers outside his home neighborhood, in Daraa.
A picture of the child called Mouhammed al-Qawarit dressed in his new clothes with a new haircut and another picture of him as a dead corpse under the rubbles due to the shellings, was circulated on social media, with comments of grief bemoaning that childhood, even on Eid occaisons, are not spared the atrocities of an ongoing war in Syria for more than seven years now.
On Wednesday Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that talks led by Moscow on the future of the south of the country were ongoing, but warned that Israel and the United States were preventing a negotiated settlement.
In an interview with Iran’s Al-Alam television channel broadcast late Wednesday, Assad said that after regime forces captured Ghouta from rebels in April, “it was suggested that we should move south”.
“We were faced with two options... reconciliation or liberation by force. At this point, the Russians suggested the possibility of giving reconciliation an opportunity,” he said.
Russia called late last month for urgent negotiations with the US and Jordan on the south, and President Vladimir Putin has discussed Syria with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It’s a prized region for nearly all stakeholders in Syria’s war due to its strategic geographical position: the south borders Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but also lies close to Damascus.
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