The Latest: UN estimates 45k displaced by Syrian offensive

June 26, 2018 - 7:56 am

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on Syria developments (all times local):

2:55 p.m.

The U.N. has estimated that about 45,000 Syrians have been displaced since government troops and their allies launched an offensive in the southern part of the country a week ago.

Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said Tuesday that those fleeing fighting in the southern Daraa province were moving closer to the sealed border with Jordan, with no apparent escape route.

A Jordanian government spokeswoman said earlier this week that the kingdom would not take in any more Syrians.

Jordan is already hosting about 660,000 registered Syrian refugees and estimates that the number of displaced Syrians in the overburdened country is twice as high.

Laerke said aid officials are "deeply concerned" about the safety of the displaced who he said are fleeing ground fighting and air strikes.

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8:45 a.m.

Syria state media reports that two Israeli missiles have struck an area near the Damascus International Airport but didn't name a target.

State news agency SANA says the strike Tuesday happened shortly after midnight. The agency linked the reported Israeli attack to the government's ongoing offensive against rebel groups in Syria's southwestern region, which borders Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Jordan.

SANA said the strike is part of Israel's support for the rebels amid their "major losses" in the south and elsewhere in Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the strikes, saying Israeli jets flew over the Golan Heights and targeted suspected weapons depots for Iranian-backed militias.

The area has come under repeated attacks, mostly believed to be by Israel. Israel rarely comments on such strikes.

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