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Window narrowing to stave off worst-case scenario in southwest Syria

smoke rising over town of Daraa, Syria, after an airstrike
Smoke rises above the Daraa province countryside after airstrikes by Syrian regime forces on June 27, 2018. Photo: Mohamad Abazeed/AFP/Getty Images

The Assad regime last weekend launched an offensive into southwest Syria aimed at dividing opposition forces in Daraa province and reasserting government control over the region.

Why it matters: The regime campaign, backed by Russian airpower, has already displaced at least 45,000 civilians — many seeking shelter along Jordan's closed border — and that number could soon reach 200,000. The UN has warned that a full-scale offensive could put as many as 750,000 lives at risk and prove as bloody as the sieges of “eastern Aleppo and eastern Ghouta combined" (which included the use of chemical weapons).