Israeli missiles land in Damascus

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Syria's army launched an assault on the flashpoint southern city of Daraa Tuesday, state media said, after a week of deadly bombardment on the nearby countryside caused mass displacement.

Government forces opened a new front on Tuesday against the rebel-held part of Deraa city, the provincial capital, state media reported.

Other pro-government media said the army intends to bring the entire province under its control and is likely to move on to western Daraa, where it conducted a series of airstrikes Monday.

Its military has been carrying out strikes on Iranian and Iran-affiliated targets in Syria, with a United States official saying it was Israeli forces that carried out a deadly strike against an Iraqi paramilitary base in eastern Syria on June 17.

Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said aid officials were "deeply concerned" for those fleeing the fighting and heading toward the sealed border with Jordan.

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The United Nations has warned that renewed hostilities could put 750,000 lives in rebel parts of Daraa at risk.

Syria's army is pursuing a divide-and-conquer strategy against rebels in the south, aiming to chop up the horseshoe-shaped territory that the opposition holds. Another six million are displaced inside the country. The United States and Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful ally, past year agreed a "de-escalation" zone in the area that has helped to contain the violence there. The offensive shattered a truce negotiated in the area by the U.S., Russian Federation and Jordan last July.

Iranian advisers and militias it backs are embedded with Syrian troops.

In a report in the early hours of Tuesday, Syria's state news agency Sana said "two Israeli missiles came down near Damascus global airport".

Syrian and Iranian military facilities in the war-torn country have been hit several times since April. Such strikes have increased in frequency amid soaring tensions between Israel and Iran, a major Assad ally. The Observatory said Israeli jets flew over the Golan Heights and targeted suspected weapons depots for Iranian-backed militias near the Damascus airport. Israel rarely comments on such strikes.