• Reuters

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Syrian government helicopters dropped barrel bombs on opposition areas of the country’s southwest on Friday for the first time in a year, a war monitor and rebel officials said, in defiance of U.S. demands that President Bashar Assad halt the assault.

Assad has sworn to recapture the area bordering Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The army this past week began ramping up an assault there, threatening a “de-escalation” zone that was agreed upon by the United States and Russia last year.

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