Warplanes have pounded towns in southwest Syria in recent days as a regime offensive, backed by Russia, gathers pace.

Smoke rises from the southeast part of Daraa, Syria in this handout released on June 27, 2018.
Smoke rises from the southeast part of Daraa, Syria in this handout released on June 27, 2018. (Reuters)

Air strikes in rebel-held parts of Syria’s Daraa province have killed 46 people, including children, since yesterday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday.

The Observatory says the air strike was part of a barrage of missiles that hit the area as regime forces make a push to gain territory and head toward southern Daraa and a strategic border crossing with Jordan.

According to the Britain-based war monitor, at least 17 civilians were killed on Thursday in an air strike on an underground shelter in the town of Al Musayfra, in eastern Daraa.

The incident is the deadliest since a regime offensive in Daraa began on June 19. In total, more than 85 civilians have been killed since the operation began. 

An activist with the opposition-operated Horan Free Media who goes by the name Abu Mahmoud Hournai said rescuers are still pulling bodies from the underground shelter. He put the death toll at 20, saying they included women and children.

Mark Kimmitt, a retired brigadier general from the US army, weighs in on the battle for Daraa and how important it is in the context of the broader Syrian war from the TRT World studio in Istanbul.

On Wednesday, bombardment by pro-regime forces in Daraa forced three hospitals out of service.

The United Nations says the offensive has so far forced up to 50,000 people to flee towards the Jordanian border. Jordan, which already hosts some 650,000 Syrian refugees, has said it will not open the border.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies