UN Commission on Syria Says Rebels in Idlib Should Leave to Protect Civilians

UN Commission on Syria Says Rebels in Idlib Should Leave to Protect Civilians

Comments Off on UN Commission on Syria Says Rebels in Idlib Should Leave to Protect Civilians

(MEE) — A UN commission on Wednesday said rebel groups in Syria’s Idlib province should leave urban areas to protect civilians from a looming government assault.

“Most of those terrorist groups and other armed groups, they are in the cities. Perhaps one wonderful scenario is: Leave the cities,” said UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria chief Paulo Pinheiro.

Hany Magally, a fellow panel member, said: “Shouldn’t the armed groups move out and spare the civilian population?”

The proposal comes after the United Nations’ peace envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, last week suggested a deadline be set for fighters in Idlib to pull back from its cities.

UN agencies and relief organisations have warned repeatedly that any major assault on the province of Idlib, which borders Turkey, could spark one of the worst humanitarian disasters of Syria’s seven-year war.

UN chief Antonio Guterres warned on Tuesday that a full-scale battle in Idlib “would unleash a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict”.

Idlib and adjacent areas are largely controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an alliance led by al-Qaeda’s former Syrian affiliate, as well as rival rebels. HTS controls the provincial capital, Idlib city.

The northwestern region has seen its population almost double with the arrival of Syrians displaced from other parts of the country, many of whom already depend on aid.

“All the other disasters would be minor events compared to what can happen in Idlib,” Pinheiro said.

On Wednesday, intermittent artillery fire hit a number of southern districts within Idlib province and neighbouring rebel-held areas of Hama province, a Britain-based monitor said.

But for the second day in a row there were no air raids, after deadly strikes and barrel bombing over the weekend, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Last Friday, Turkey, Russia and Iran failed to reach an agreement to avoid an assault on Idlib.

The head of the Istanbul-based opposition organisation Syrian National Coalition (SNC), Abdulrahman Mustafa, told Middle East Eye last week that rebel forces would not withdraw from Idlib in case of a government assault.

He said rebel groups in Idlib were trying to entice members of HTS to leave the organisation.

“We are trying to have all the groups in the HTS to shift to the National Front for Liberation (NFL) and dissolve HTS. We will see what will happen next,” he said. The NFL is an umbrella group of rebel forces backed by Turkey.

Three Turkish security and government officials told Reuters on Wednesday that troops, armoured vehicles and equipment had been sent to the Syrian border. A senior security source said the army has reinforced 12 Turkish military posts inside Idlib itself.

“We have a military presence there and if that military presence is damaged or attacked in any way, it would be considered an attack on Turkey and would therefore receive the necessary retaliation,” the source said.

The observation posts were set up in the Idlib region last year under an accord with Russia and Iran designating Idlib and parts of neighbouring provinces a “de-escalation zone”.

By MEE and agencies / Republished with permission / Middle East Eye / Report a typo

This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.

Since you’re here…
…We have a small favor to ask. Fewer and fewer people are seeing Anti-Media articles as social media sites crack down on us, and advertising revenues across the board are quickly declining. However, unlike many news organizations, we haven’t put up a paywall because we value open and accessible journalism over profit — but at this point, we’re barely even breaking even. Hopefully, you can see why we need to ask for your help. Anti-Media’s independent journalism and analysis takes substantial time, resources, and effort to produce, but we do it because we believe in our message and hope you do, too.

If everyone who reads our reporting and finds value in it helps fund it, our future can be much more secure. For as little as $1 and a minute of your time, you can support Anti-Media. Thank you. Click here to support us

Related Posts

Watch: Reporters Slam US for Refusing to Condemn Bombing of School Bus in Yemen

Comments Off on Watch: Reporters Slam US for Refusing to Condemn Bombing of School Bus in Yemen

Someone Warned Us About Catholic Child Sex Abuse 26 Years Ago, but Nobody Listened

Comments Off on Someone Warned Us About Catholic Child Sex Abuse 26 Years Ago, but Nobody Listened

Why You Should Be Skeptical of Everything You Hear About the Iran Protests

Comments Off on Why You Should Be Skeptical of Everything You Hear About the Iran Protests

Trump Declares European Union a ‘Foe’ Ahead of Putin Meeting

Comments Off on Trump Declares European Union a ‘Foe’ Ahead of Putin Meeting

The US Is Making a Big Mistake by Weaponizing the Dollar, Putin Warns

Comments Off on The US Is Making a Big Mistake by Weaponizing the Dollar, Putin Warns

Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro Survives Assassination Attempt During Speech

Comments Off on Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro Survives Assassination Attempt During Speech

Missile Fragments From Yemen Bus Bombing Traced Back to Lockheed Martin

Comments Off on Missile Fragments From Yemen Bus Bombing Traced Back to Lockheed Martin

Gaza ‘Freedom Flotilla’ Ship Violently Seized by Israeli Soldiers

Comments Off on Gaza ‘Freedom Flotilla’ Ship Violently Seized by Israeli Soldiers

European Union Vows to Block US Sanctions on Iran

Comments Off on European Union Vows to Block US Sanctions on Iran

6 Reasons Why Trump Should Never Get the Nobel Peace Prize

Comments Off on 6 Reasons Why Trump Should Never Get the Nobel Peace Prize

Amnesty Calls for Probe of UAE Forces Torturing Detainees at Secret Prisons in Yemen

Comments Off on Amnesty Calls for Probe of UAE Forces Torturing Detainees at Secret Prisons in Yemen

Create Account



Log In Your Account