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UN Secretary-General: “Gravely Concerned”About Military Escalation in Southwestern Syria

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "gravely concerned by the recent military escalation, including ground offensives and aerial bombardments, in southwestern Syria," according to a statement from his spokesman.

"The attacks have resulted in the displacement of thousands of civilians, the majority of whom are moving towards the Jordanian border. The Secretary-general is also concerned at the significant risks these offensives pose to regional security, " the statement says.

Guterres has called for "an immediate end to the current military escalation and urges all stakeholders to respect their obligations under international law and international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure."

Jordan brokered a cease-fire agreement in southern Syria between the U.S. and Russia in July 2017.

But the Syrian government has not agreed to the de-escalation agreement, despite the fact that its ally, Russia, was a party to the deal. The Syrian government continues to drop leaflets in the area giving armed opposition two choices — surrender or die.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement earlier this month expressing its concerns about the escalation by the Syrian government in the southwest, warning of “firm and appropriate measures” against the Syrian government’s violation of a cease-fire, and holding Russia responsible to compel the Syrian government to the agreement.