At least 270 journalists have been trapped in Syria’s southwestern Daraa province amid an ongoing regime offensive in the region, the Syrian Journalists Association said Tuesday.
An Anadolu Agency freelance reporter is among the trapped journalists, as well as media activists and media workers, which the association said “are facing an imminent danger”.
“In the last few days, most media workers were forced to move to a narrow geographical area in Quneitra region. However, some media workers were besieged in ‘Daraa Al Balad’ and the adjacent western countryside,” the association said in a statement.
The association said the journalists were seeking a safe exit through the Jordanian border amid fears of reprisal by regime forces.
“What scares most is the will of revenge by the regime and its allied militias against anyone who voices opposition to the Syrian regime,” the statement read.
Since June 20, the Assad regime has waged a wide-ranging military operation -- supported by Russian air power – leading the regime and its allies to establish control over most of the country's southernmost border with Jordan in line with a cease-fire deal between Russia and armed opposition groups.
The fighting has led to a major displacement crisis, with an estimated 350,000 civilians fleeing Daraa in recent days towards areas near the Jordanian border.
Following peace talks held last year in Kazakh capital Astana, Daraa was designated a “de-escalation zone” in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.
Reporting by Emel Oz Guzellik:Writing by Mahmoud Barakat