Air strikes were reported across rebel-held areas in southern Syria on Wednesday, forcing three hospitals to shut down.
On Thursday, 46 people died, including children, in Daraa province, Syrian War Daily reported. The group said that the air strike was part of a barrage of missiles that were fired in the area.
Regime forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are trying to make a push to gain territory and a strategic border crossing with Jordan. The southern part was supposed to be protected under a ceasefire, or “de-escalation zone,” by Russia, Jordan, and the United States.
Amid the air strikes, aid organizations Red Cross and UNICEF called for more safeguards to prevent civilian deaths, The Telegraph reported.
“There are rockets, barrel bombs and Russian and Syrian air strikes hitting rebel areas of Daraa, particularly the Daraa al-Balad neighborhood,” said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman.
The organization added that thousands of civilians have fled.
“Horror knows no limit in Syria, where children are yet again caught in the crossfire of the latest wave of violence in the southwest,” added Henrietta Fore, who is the executive director of UN children’s agency UNICEF. “The children of Syria have lived through unacceptable suffering. This cannot become the new normal.”
Meanwhile, the Syrian army battled rebels in an important town in southwest Syria on Thursday, a media unit run by its ally Hezbollah and a war monitor said, as intensifying air strikes killed dozens of people in the area, Reuters reported.
Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, indicated that Russia would no longer uphold the de-escalation zone, saying it was among the last strongholds of al Qaeda’s Syrian branch and ISIS, and the Syrian army has a “legitimate right” to fight “terrorists.”
“Every de-escalation zone that we established was not established for good,” Nebenzia told a news conference at the United Nations,” he said, according to Reuters. “I hope that all of the de-escalation zones will go into history and will have Syria territorially united under the control of the legitimate government. The de-escalation zone for those who are ready to uphold de-escalation still exists. But for those who resist any de-escalation, it doesn’t.”
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