The Syrian national flag rises in the midst of damaged buildings in Daraa-al-Balad, an opposition-held part of the southern city of Daraa, on July 12, 2018. AFP / Mohamad ABAZEED
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The Syrian government raised the national flag over Deraa city Thursday, marking a key symbolic victory for President Bashar Assad in the birthplace of the uprising that sparked a 7-year-old war.The Syrian army, backed by Russian air power, has been targeting Deraa for the last three weeks with airstrikes and barrel bombs, causing over 200,000 to flee toward the border with Golan Heights and Jordan.Israeli missiles hit several Syrian army posts near Qunaitra overnight Wednesday in response to what the Israeli army said was a drone incursion, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would not impede Assad's offensive across the border.Netanyahu had asked Putin to work to remove Iranian forces from Syria.Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei top aide however, meeting Putin in Moscow Thursday, insisted that Iran and Russia share the same view and will continue to work together in Syria.
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