BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:20 A.M.) – The rebel forces in Daraa were encouraged by the Russian military to reconcile with the government and not to depart for northern Syria, a source told Al-Masdar News from southwest Syria on Sunday.
According to the source, the rebels were allegedly told by the Russian military to reconcile with the government because the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is going to deploy to northern Syria next for an offensive in the Idlib Governorate.
The source added that the Russian military brought this up to the rebel forces after the latter asked about being evacuated to northern Syria during the recent reconciliation talks that were held in the southeastern countryside of the Daraa Governorate.
While the southwest Syria offensive was expected for some time, news of a future Syrian Arab Army operation in Idlib is relatively new.
A Syrian Army operation in the Idlib Governorate would require the Turkish Armed Forces to withdraw from their observation posts around the province, as they are currently blocking the government’s route into the opposition-held areas.
One of the top priorities for the Russian and Syrian forces is the security of the coastal provinces, which have recently been the target of armed drone attacks from the jihadist rebels in southwest Idlib.
The Syrian and Russian forces have been eyeing the strategic Jisr Al-Shughour District and Al-Ghaab Plain for quite some time; if there is an operation in Idlib, it will take place here.