Russian jets pounded rebel-held areas of the Syrian city of Deraa on Tuesday for a second day in the first such intensive bombing campaign since Moscow’s major intervention in Syria more than a year ago, rebels and witnesses said.

Rebel groups on Sunday stormed the heavily-garrisoned Manshiya district in a battle dubbed “Death rather than Humiliation” saying the campaign sought to obstruct any army attempts to capture a strategic border crossing with Jordan.

The army’s control of the rebel held crossing and swatches of territory in the southern strip of the city would sever the rebel link between the eastern and west parts of the city.

The Syrian army said the “terrorists” had failed to make gains and its troops had inflicted many casualties.

State media said the armed insurgents showered civilian districts of the southern city with mortars, wrecking many homes.

The opposition fighters are drawn from both moderate Free Syrian Army groups and members of a newly formed alliance – Tahrir al Sham – spearheaded by a faction that was once al Qaeda’s official affiliate.

 

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