One of the last rebel strongholds in Syria is pushed to accept state rule

Syrians have fled to Idlib from other parts of the country as the government has advanced. The United Nations has warned that an offensive could force 2.5 million people towards the Turkish border.

By REUTERS
August 9, 2018 16:02
2 minute read.
The aftermath of a Russian warplane shot down by Syrian rebels in Idlib, Syria

The aftermath of a Russian warplane shot down by Syrian rebels in Idlib, Syria. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

BEIRUT - The Syrian army urged people in rebel-held Idlib province to agree to a return of state rule and told them the war was nearing its end in leaflets dropped over the northwestern region on Thursday.

Idlib, at the Turkish border, is one of the last major rebel strongholds in Syria. President Bashar al-Assad, who has defeated rebels across much of Syria with Russian and Iranian help, has indicated it could be his next target.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said additional government forces were arriving for a possible attack in an area to the southwest of Idlib city that overlaps with Latakia and Hama provinces.

Syrians have fled to Idlib province from other parts of the country as the government has advanced, and the United Nations has warned that an offensive there could force 2.5 million people towards the Turkish border in the event of an offensive.

NATO member Turkey has warned against any offensive in Idlib, and is pressing Russia to make sure this doesn't happen. Turkey has established 12 military observation posts in the northwest under an agreement with Russia and Iran.
Tillerson: US recognizes Turkey's right to secure borders, February 16, 2018 (Reuters)

U.N. humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland said on Thursday that Russia, Turkey and Iran had said they would do their utmost to avoid a battle in Idlib. But he added that the UN was making preparations and that he would ask Turkey to keep its borders open for fleeing civilians.

"Your cooperation with the Syrian Arab Army will release you from the rule of militants and terrorists, and will preserve your and your families' lives," declared the leaflets that were dropped in rural areas near Idlib city.



"We call upon you to join local reconciliation (agreements) as many others in Syria have done," said the leaflet in the name of the army command, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

Such agreements, concluded at the local level, have been a tool for helping the Syrian government to reestablish control over numerous areas and have often been agreed upon when rebel fighters are on the brink of military defeat.

The government says the agreements grant an amnesty to rebels who are willing to live under state rule again, unless private law suits have been brought against them. The terms also include that they give up their weapons.

But many rebels, civilian dissidents and others have instead opted to take safe passage to the opposition-held northwest, an arc of territory at the Turkish border that stretches from Idlib to the city of Jarablus on the Euphrates River.

Idlib is controlled by an array of insurgent groups, but jihadists are widely assessed to be the dominant force there.

Related Content

August 21, 2018
Iran unveils fourth-generation fighter jet

By ANNA AHRONHEIM