Southwest Syria is seeing “the worst and deadliest violence” since 2018, the statements said, pointing to Bashar al Assad's regime shelling of civilian areas in the flashpoint region, including Daraa National Hospital, in recent days.

In this file photo taken on July 5, 2018, smoke rises above opposition and rebel-held areas of Daraa during reported air strikes by Syrian regime forces.
In this file photo taken on July 5, 2018, smoke rises above opposition and rebel-held areas of Daraa during reported air strikes by Syrian regime forces. (AFP)

The United States and European Union have separately called for an end to regime violence in Syria's Daraa where Bashar al Assad's forces have been launching attacks this past week.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sharply condemned on Wednesday the Assad regime's "brutal assault" on Daraa.

Blinken called "for an immediate end to the violence, which has killed civilians and displaced thousands suffering from shortages of food and medication".

"We reiterate calls for a nationwide ceasefire in line with UNSCR 2254," he wrote on Twitter, referencing a UN Security Council resolution adopted in 2015. The resolution called for the protection of civilians and a return to a political process to end war.

The Syrian regime renewed its attacks on Daraa's al Balad neighbourhood following the failure of Russian-led mediation talks between the regime and opposition forces, a local group said on Tuesday. The Assad forces and Iranian-backed militias launched a ground operation in the neighbourhood on July 29, triggering clashes that spread across the countryside. At least 15 civilians have been killed.

READ MORE: Syrian regime forces shell flashpoint Daraa after failed talks

Daraa, known as the birthplace of the Syrian revolution, is home to 40,000 residents and was an opposition stronghold until 2018.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement that southwest Syria is seeing “the worst and deadliest violence” since 2018.

“Heavy shelling has killed dozens of civilians including women and children and 10,000 people have been displaced. The Daraa National Hospital, serving 50,000 people, was hit by mortars. There is a severe risk of escalation throughout Daraa province and beyond,” it said.

It urged all parties to prioritise protecting residents of Daraa and ensure unhindered, safe and sustainable humanitarian access.

“The European Union joins United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, in his call on all parties in Syria to adhere to the principle of protection of civilians and international humanitarian law and urges all parties to avoid escalation and restore calm,” the EU said.

“Only a political process that respects the freedom and the dignity of all Syrian people in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2254 can bring about a lasting solution to the conflict,” it added.

Deal hinges on weapons

Daraa al-Balad was blockaded by the regime on June 25 after residents, including former members of the Syrian opposition, resisted an order to surrender light weapons and allow forces to search houses.

According to the Reconciliation Center and local media, the order was opposed because it violated the terms of the Russian-mediated 2018 deal, under which residents and ex-opposition members had to surrender heavy weapons.

The 2018 deal allowed thousands of opposition fighters, rebels and civilians safe passage to other opposition-held regions, while Russia-backed regime forces launched an attack to reclaim Daraa.

READ MORE: Assad regime kills civilians in Syria's Daraa after rebels repel attack

Source: AA