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Thousands who fled recent fighting in Syria return home

Thousands who fled recent fighting in Syria return home

Jordan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi stated that Jordan, now facing 60,000 refugees currently near its border with Syria, placed the safe return of Syrian refugees on the top of its priority list.

An Associated Press journalist on the Jordanian side of the border could see the Syrian side of the crossing, along with the former free zone and some blue tents housing displaced people.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said he was gravely concerned for the welfare of civilians and humanitarian aid workers in Daraa province, a region of opposition-held Syria on the Jordanian border.

It said the latest deaths bring to 65 the number of children reported killed in less than three weeks in southern Syria alone.

He said that while the United Nations and partners are doing what they can to deliver life-saving aid to the people of south-west Syria - both from within the country and across the Jordanian border - the security situation is hindering efforts to reach many people in dire need.

Both countries say they will not open their borders, but have distributed some supplies inside Syria.

Many are now returning after a recent deal between the army and rebels.

The shell was apparently fired during fighting between the Syrian army and rebel forces in the area.

Near the start of the government's offensive, Washington indicated it would respond to violations of that deal, but it has not done so yet and rebels said it told them to expect no American military help.

Osama Al Homsi, 26, said he was hesitant to return to his hometown of Jeeza in southeastern Daraa after the deal.

Although the main rebel groups in the eastern parts of Daraa province have accepted to hand over their weapons as part of the Russian-mediated deal, some have vowed to continue fighting, mostly in western parts of Daraa and the nearby Quneitra region on the front with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

On Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said over 28,000 people returned to their homes in the southeastern countryside of Daraa over the past 24 hours, after fleeing recently due to the military showdown.

Syrian opposition activists reported intense shelling and airstrikes on the rebel-held village of Um al-Mayadeen, few kilometres (miles) north of the Naseeb border crossing.

He added that the Jordanians are working on resuming the talks between rebels and the Russians in southwestern Syria.

The negotiating sides are also in disagreement over the issue of the rebels handing over their heavy weapons with Russian Federation insisting that they give up the entirety of their arsenal in one go and rebels wanting to do so in several phases.

Rebel sources said Russian Federation would guarantee the safe return of civilians who fled the government offensive in the biggest exodus of the war, with 320,000 people uprooted.

US forces have backed rebels fighting Assad's government during the civil war.

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