Five children and three women are among those killed on Quneitra's border with Daraa province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The war monitor says it's unclear whether the strikes were carried by the regime or its Russian ally.

Syrian regime forces are seen on al Haara hill in Quneitra area, Syria, July 17, 2018.
Syrian regime forces are seen on al Haara hill in Quneitra area, Syria, July 17, 2018. (Reuters)

Air strikes on Tuesday killed more than a dozen civilians in parts of Syria's south near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a war monitor said.

The Syrian regime has been pounding the southwestern province of Quneitra since Sunday in a bid to retake it from rebels, after winning back most of the neighbouring province of Daraa in less than a month.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (or SOHR) said air strikes killed 14 civilians in the village of Ain al Tina on Quneitra's border with Daraa on Tuesday morning. 

"They were all displaced from other areas. They included five children and three women," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said. 

It was not immediately clear whether the strikes were carried out by the regime or its Russian ally, the Britain-based monitor said.

The civilians had reportedly been taking shelter in a large building in Ain al Tina. 

In the west of the adjacent province of Daraa, Russian air raids also killed one civilian near the village of Al Aliya, the Observatory said.

Hayat Tahrir al Sham in the area

"Since Tuesday morning, heavy Russian air strikes and barrel bombs dropped by the regime have been targeting an area straddling Quneitra and Daraa," Abdel Rahman said.  

The monitor determines who carried out strikes based on the type of aircraft and munitions used, locations and flight patterns.

Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a group led by Syria's former Al Qaeda affiliate, is present in that area, he said.

HTS militants are not included in a ceasefire between regime and rebels in Daraa announced earlier this month, which has allowed the regime to retake control of more than 90 percent of the province.

Israel warns Syrians away from frontier

Meanwhile, dozens of Syrians approached the Israeli frontier on the occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to seek help or sanctuary from a Russian-backed Syrian army offensive, before turning back after a warning from Israeli forces.

"Go back before something bad happens. If you want us to be able to help you, go back," an Israeli army officer on the Israeli side of a frontier fence told the crowd in Arabic through a megaphone. 

"Get a move on."

A picture taken on July 17, 2018 from the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights shows refugees coming to fence border between Syria and Israel by a camp for displaced Syrians near the Syrian village of Burayqah in the southern province of Quneitra.
A picture taken on July 17, 2018 from the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights shows refugees coming to fence border between Syria and Israel by a camp for displaced Syrians near the Syrian village of Burayqah in the southern province of Quneitra. (AFP)

The Syrians who approached the frontier fence stopped some 200 metres away, before an Israeli soldier told them to leave.

"You are on the border of the state of Israel. Go back, we don't want to hurt you," the soldier shouted in Arabic through a loudspeaker at the crowd, live Reuters TV footage showed.

The crowd, which included women and children, then walked back slowly towards the refugee encampment. Some stopped mid-way and waved white cloths in the direction of the Israeli frontier.

The UN said last week up to 160,000 Syrians had fled to Quneitra province, some in close proximity to the Golan area.

Rebels stop fighting

Bashar al Assad's regime forces have advanced in Daraa thanks to a deadly bombardment campaign since June 19, along with Russia-brokered deals between rebels and the regime.

In Quneitra on Monday, rebels in at least five towns raised the national flag, seeking a similar agreement with the regime, Abdel Rahman said.

"Rebel factions in these towns have stopped fighting to avoid bombardment and destruction," he said.

In two days since Sunday, at least 43 regime militants have been killed in both Daraa and Quneitra, while 48 militants and rebels have lost their lives, the Observatory said.

More than 450,000 people have been killed and millions displaced by Syria's war since it started in 2011.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies