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All citizens of Fuah and Kafrayaa have been evacuated.
SAA discovered more weapons in Aqrab town, Hama
Evacuation of two pro-Assad Syrian villages under way
Military sources from the Daraa governorate, Southern Syria, said that Russia told the Free Syrian Army (FSA) negotiators, during the meetings in the city of Busra al-Sham, to prevent the FSA fighters from heading for the Idlib governorate, Northern Syria, because the battle there will begin next September.
In a voice record obtained by SMART, an FSA commander, Abu Ali Mahamid, said that the Russians "advised" the negotiators to prevent the FSA from heading for Idlib. Al-Mahamid added, "Russians advised them (the negotiators) not to head for the Idlib crematory; the military operation there will start in September and will end the same way the battle of Southern Syria ended."
Al-Mahamid, who is also a member of the Daraa City Consultative Council, said that the Russians "pledged" to the FSA negotiators that Russia will not persecute anyone in Daraa for his political background, adding, "Russia pledged to the United States and the Gulf countries not to persecute anyone."
The official spokesman of the opposition Central Operations Room of Southern Syria, General Ibrahim Jebbawi, confirmed the Russian "advice" to the FSA, saying, "It is true that Russia intimidated the FSA of heading for Idlib (…) and Russia is announcing in public that after Daraa, the Russian forces will move to Idlib."
On Monday, an FSA commander said that the FSA is expecting the loyalist forces to launch a military operation in the governorate of Idlib, advancing from the Lattakia governorate, after finishing their military operations in Daraa. The loyalist forces have been reinforcing their bases in Northern Syria for months.
The loyalist forces have led a military campaign for about three weeks in Daraa, killing and injuring dozens of civilians and displacing tens of thousands of others. Last Friday, the military campaign in Daraa ended with the FSA and Russia concluding an agreement that included a ceasefire, and for the FSA fighters who refuse to sign the agreement to head for Idlib.
Right when Daraa is finished, at least I expect it will be fully liberated by September.
Was expecting earlier, Daa'ra offensive has been a success
But even if the Daraa operation ended today, there's a lot of logistics involved with ending the presence in Idlib. They're not going to just roll in with the forces present in the region, they're going to move as many units as they can into position and attack from multiple prongs, Latakia, Hama, Aleppo etc.
Realistically the Idlib pocket is the last real threat to the stability of Syria moving forwards. They're not going to take the operation lightly and I don't doubt that there will be a lot of preemptive bombing and shelling before the ground operations start rolling in.
So presumably Russia and Syria would rather the rebels surrender and reconcile and stay where they are?
Considering the most of the Southern Front rebels were more moderate, it would make sense for them reintegrate back into society so long as they follow the terms and conditions set upon them.
The green bus isn't an ideal situation for the SAA, it softens the blow of whatever their current campaign is, but being fully aware that they're just kicking the can down the road and will have to fight them again in the near future. If a former rebel were to agree to the terms of the surrender and reconciliation process that's a win win for everyone involved, so long as there isn't any backstabbing from either side.
Its safe to say that any rebels that lay down their arms and decide to stay will be monitored and tracked, and probably shunned by loyalists for awhile, but eventually will be able to be a productive part of Syrian society again. For those hardliners that take the bus to Idlib, its going to be a last stand, there won't be an option to evacuate, it will be a long and gruesome battle with death and destruction on both sides.
Yeah, SF has been dormant for a long time and it's pretty clear that they no longer have the will to keep opposing the government. It's telling that last year's offensive on the Manshiya neighbourhood in Daraa was done in coordination with HTS, probably because extremists wanted to take some pressure off N.Hama and Idlib.
Even now despite rumors of peace negotiations being sabotage by Jordan-based rebel commanders the rebels still keep reconciling, town after town. No real reason to send them to Idlib when most of them would probably be happy to just be left alone and not get killed.
In this sense it's a smart decision by Russia to warn them that the battle for Idlib is inevitable, because even if they decide to move there and live to fight another day their fate will be the same as the rest of those who refused to lay the arms down. It's better to accept the deal now and spare their families even more suffering.
but eventually will be able to be a productive part of Syrian society again
That is if they don't disappear in some detention center.
I share the same concern, and undoubtedly some will. I hope that for the vast majority of rebels returning into the fold are treated with dignity and respect and allowed to live a good life. I do fear that leaders of groups will be targeted, and I hope that that is very limited.
Your flair says "Free Syria", are/were you associated with any FSA groups? If yes, did you hear about what happens to reconciled rebels in areas taken over by the government?
I'm really curious about what "reconciliation" looks like, months/years after the fighting.
I've been a supporter of the revolution's ideals of a free Syria, but I am neither a Syrian, nor have I given any material support to them in any form or fashion, and don't have any contacts with anyone on the ground. I simply follow the conflict from afar and accumulate knowledge from this sub and other sources.
I've done my best to try and learn what the reconciliation means for those who chose to stay in their home. For many (last year or two) it has meant conscription to frontline units fighting ISIS in the desert, and I haven't seen many reports of those who are too old, or can't serve on the front lines as to what their quality of life is actually like.
Logically you would assume that they'd be questioned by the government, and if they were a wanted target they'd disappear. Sadly as we've seen time and time again the Syrian regime has a highly-bureaucratic state and peoples names are on lists, even if they simply attended a rally/protest over 7 years ago. The hopeful side of me wants there to be very little backlash against them (Syrian rebels), and have a clear and fair reintroduction into Syrian society where they're given a second chance and allowed to help rebuild Syria and re-earn the trust of those around them. Another fear that I have besides the government monitoring them and making them disappear, is if the government turns a blind eye to mob violence against former rebels, with lynch mobs running around, burning, looting and harassing former rebels and especially their families. But there's got to be a reason that rebels and their families have decided to take a bus to Idlib rather than to stay and live under government control, how much those fears are real, and how much is propaganda we may never know.
As far as non-Syrian fighters that have poured into Syria to fight the government with extremist groups, I have no concerns of what the government will do with/to them.
Thank you for your insight!
After Idlib they can go all the way to Afrin and Azaz and finish FSA once it for all.
The T in TFSA makes a huge difference.
Yes, Leith also reported this leak.
I don't normally do this but I'm actually going to copy what I wrote from another thread recently because it's applicable here:
Idlib offensive is coming one way or another. Those who think the militants there are under some protected status just because of the Turkish posts are deluding themselves as much as those who thought Afrin was impervious to attack because of Russian observers who simply slipped away in the night. I wouldn't even be surprised if part of the agreement for Russian observer force to withdraw quietly from Afrin region in northwestern Aleppo was for Turkish observers to get out of the way where and when needed.
What they might do though since it's where all of the most hardened jihadists are concentrated (both because the Turkish border is where most of the veteran mujahideen from wars around the world entered and because militants from all pockets were internally deported there) and it is their biggest contiguous controlled territory is just take it in pieces. It will conceivably be a multi-stage offensive longer than Daraa is taking at its current pace, and most agree first piece will be the rest of northeastern Latakia, al-Ghab plains in northwestern Hama (Qalaat al-Mudiq, Kafr Nabudah, etc.), and western Idlib (Jisr al-Shughour).
smart move by the Russians, to leak this info. Now only the hardcore Jihadi will take the green buses. For real FSA, no other option to surrender.
They won't. There is a reason Turkey is surrounding the whole of Idlib with military outposts.
Observing points, not real military outposts. Just as the Russian observing points in Afrin.
Acronyms, initialisms, abbreviations, contractions, and other phrases which expand to something larger, that I've seen in this thread:
|Fewer Letters||More Letters|
|FSA||[Opposition] Free Syrian Army|
|HTS||[Opposition] Haya't Tahrir ash-Sham, based in Idlib|
|ISIL||Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Daesh|
|SAA||[Government] Syrian Arab Army|
|SDF||[Pro-Kurdish Federalists] Syrian Democratic Forces|
|TFSA||[Opposition] Turkish-backed Syrian rebel group|
In a voice record obtained by SMART, an FSA commander, Abu Ali Mahamid, said that the Russians "advised" the negotiators to prevent the FSA from heading for Idlib.
You know it could also be because they want people in Idlib to attack the Syrians to prevent them getting obliterated.
This was my first thought as well. It doesn't invalidate the claim that an Idlib offensive is coming at some point, which is likely true, but this news coming purely from an FSA source reeks of trying to scare the rebels in Idlib into attacking the SAA preemptively, thereby providing a degree of relief to the south. That would be the idea anyway, the fact that the Idlib rebels are probably to depleted to make any gains of significance and keep them is another matter.