Members of Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Arab Army dropped leaflets over Idlib province on Thursday, warning civilians in the rebel-held territory that they should surrender as the brutal seven-year war reaches its conclusion.
“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,” one of the leaflets read.
Assad’s forces have reclaimed sizeable territory across Syria in the past year with the backing of Russian forces, mainly in areas around the capital of Damascus and in the southwest region.
Meanwhile, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami chief Abdel Rahman warned that Syrian forces were already pummelling the area with heavy artillery and preparing reinforcements for potential conflict.
Around 2.5 million people live in the Idlib province, including rebels and civilians who have fled en masse from other territories that reclaimed by Syrian troops.