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Second Russian Attempt to Force Idlib Residents Out

Second Russian Attempt to Force Idlib Residents Out

Monday, 27 January, 2020 - 09:30
An aerial view shows a heavily damaged residential building that was hit during recent airstrikes by pro-regime forces in the city of Maarat al-Numan in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, on Jan. 25, 2020. (AFP Photo)
Moscow - Raed Jabr
Moscow has again launched a campaign to encourage Idlib residents to move into government-run areas amid a renewed push by Syrian government forces on the northwestern province.

Yuri Burenkov, head of the Russian Defense Ministry's Syria reconciliation center, said that civilians in Idlib are in danger over what he said was a flare-up caused by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allied factions.

In order to prevent more casualties - in cooperation with Syrian regime forces and local authorities - three humanitarian corridors have been established for Syrians in the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, and Hama, he said.

"The center for Syria reconciliation, together with Syrian government forces and local authorities have established three humanitarian corridors in the areas surrounding al-Hadher in Aleppo province, Abu Adh Dhuhur in Idlib province, and Habit in Hama province," Burenkov said.

He went on saying that the corridors will work around the clock and that there will be facilities for emergency medical care, drinking water, hot meals, medicine, and basic necessities. In addition, vehicles have been allocated to provide citizens with transport to safe areas.

This is the second Russian attempt to force civilians out of Idlib, after announcing on Jan. 12 the opening of three corridors. The government forces urged residents to leave by dropping fliers and spreading rumors of possible military escalation.

However, their attempts didn’t yield their expected results, with a very limited number of people living the area.

This pushed the Russian Defense Ministry to issue a statement holding the “terrorists in Idlib” responsible. They are intimidating the citizens and forcing them to stay in order to use them as human shields, it added.

Meanwhile, Sputnik revealed Sunday that the Syrian army gained control over Wadi al-Dayf, in the north of Syria. Military sources revealed as well that the Syrian troops are engaged in fierce battles against al-Nusra Front fighters.

Sputnik added that the army liberated on Saturday a number of villages, towns and strategic hills in the southern countryside of Idlib and the western countryside of Aleppo.

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