People ride on a truck loaded with belongings in Deraa countryside, Syria June 25, 2018. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Faqir
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Syrian warplanes dropped barrel bombs on Deraa city Monday as the regime pushed deeper into the country's southwest, in an offensive rebels say was green-lighted by the United States. Government forces struck the city with barrel bombs and over 55 air-to-surface missiles in the early hours of Monday, before Russian warplanes began targeting the city later in the afternoon, Deraa-based opposition activist Riyad al-Zein and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told The Daily Star. It is the first instance this year of the city being hit with barrel bombs, although the town of Hirak, in Deraa province, was struck last week. Regime forces, supported by Iranian-backed fighters on the ground and Russian airpower, have been advancing through the center of the opposition-held southwest toward Deraa, where they are now engaged in fierce clashes with rebel fighters who still hold much of the city's southern and eastern districts.
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