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Raids On ‘De-escalation Zones’ Ahead Of ‘Astana’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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People ride on a pick-up near a site hit by a missile in the rebel-held town of Muzayrib, Deraa, on Saturday. Reuters

Beirut, London- Syrian regime forces escalated their assaults on Saturday by launching missiles on the majority of “de-escalation zones” including the border crossing with Jordan, only three days ahead of the “Astana meeting” expected next Tuesday and Wednesday in the Kazakh capital.

The Jordanian Army announced on Saturday that three missiles fell inside its territories during Syrian government airstrikes against Syrian armed factions near a border center close to the Syrian border, causing a small fire but not leaving any injuries.

“At approximately 14:20 on Saturday, when the Syrian air force was targeting the armed opposition factions within Syrian territory near the Jordanian border, two projectiles fell in the vicinity of Jaber Customs Centre, close to the civil defense building, while a third landed near the Jaber-Ramtha road in an open area,” Jordan’s news agency Petra said quoting a military source form the Jordanian army.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the shelling and said warplanes targeted the Nassib border crossing with Jordan, accompanied by regime forces pounding the same area.

The Britain-based monitor added that warplanes shelled areas in Al-Muzayrib town in the countryside of Daraa, leaving material damages.

Also, regime forces escalated their military operations against the Jobar neighborhood in Damascus, while their warplanes pounded Eastern Ghouta, a district on the outskirts of Damascus, also reaching the countryside of northern Aleppo.

The escalatory measures came few days before the “Astana” meeting expected between Russia, Turkey and Iran and representatives from both the Syrian regime and the opposition in the Kazakh capital, where parties should discuss a “de-escalation” agreement that involves Idlib, Deraa, Damascus’ Ghouta and the countryside of Homs.

On Saturday, reports said that Ankara advised the Free Syrian factions in southern Syria to participate in the Astana meetings, after those forces had announced boycotting the new round of talks for several reasons, including the incapacity of the guarantor states to stop the bombing.

The opposition also says that according to leaked information, the meeting in the Kazakh capital aims to “divide Syria.”