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Executive Summary for August 15th

We review the latest developments in Syria, including reports that nearly 50,000 people are stranded at the Syria-Jordan border, Syrian rebels are bussed out of Lebanon to Syria and shelling is renewed in northern Homs.

Published on Aug. 15, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Thousands Stranded at Jordan-Syria Border

Nearly 50,000 people, the majority of whom are women and children, are stranded at the Syrian border with Jordan, the United Nations said on Monday.

The area, known as the berm, has seen intermittent airstrikes recently, and those who remain are facing an increasing scarcity of food, healthcare and other basic services, U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said in a press briefing.

“Some people are reportedly attempting to leave the area, risking further danger and deprivation in an inhospitable desert location,” Haq said. “The U.N. calls on all parties to the conflict to take the necessary steps to prevent further harm to the frightened and highly vulnerable individuals stranded at the border.”

Syrian Rebels Leave Lebanese Border Town for Syria

Hundreds of Syrian rebel fighters and civilians began their journey out of Lebanon back to Syria on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

A convoy of between 30 and 40 buses, carrying members of the Saraya Ahl al-Sham rebel group, left the Lebanese border town of Arsal on Monday, and crossed into Syria heading first for the Syrian town of Flita and then for al-Ruhaiba, about 30 miles (50km) northeast of Damascus in the Eastern Qalamoun region, Lebanese Hezbollah’s TV station al-Manar reported.

About 350 fighters and 3,100 civilians from camps near Arsal are believed to have left, according to the Daily Star. The returns are part of a deal brokered between Hezbollah and al-Qaida-linked militants.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah called on Lebanese political leaders to normalize ties with the Syrian government, speaking at a rally in southern Lebanon on Sunday.

Shelling in Northern Homs After Renewed Cease-Fire

Pro-government forces shelled the cities of Talbesa and al-Rastn in the northern countryside of Homs province on Tuesday, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

Russia and a Cairo-based opposition delegation reached a cease-fire agreement earlier this month in an effort to implement Moscow’s de-escalation zone plan, according to Syria Direct. The cease-fire was expected to cover roughly 84 settlements populated by more than 147,000 people, but violations were reported within the first 24 hours.

Renewed shelling came just a day after Syrian opposition factions in the northern countryside of Homs reportedly reached a new agreement with a Russian delegation from Moscow’s Hmeimim air base in Latakia province, according to SOHR, which obtained a copy of the cease-fire deal.

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