Russia warns Free Syrian Army in Daraa of military operation in Idlib in September

Editing Hasan Borhan| Translation Nouha Salti| Translation Editing Farah Nassif🕔Publication Date: July 10, 2018 10:18:13 AM wireMILITARYRussian military intervention

Daraa - SMART

Military sources from the Daraa governorate, Southern Syria, reported that Russia told the Free Syrian Army (FSA) negotiators in the negotiations in the city of Busra al-Sham to prevent FSA fighters from heading to the Idlib governorate, Northern Syria, because Russia will launch a military operation there in September.

In a voice recording obtained by SMART, Abu Ali Mahamid, an FSA commander, said that the Russians "advised" the negotiators to prevent the FSA from going to Idlib. Al-Mahamid added, "The Russians advised them (the negotiators) not to go to the Idlib crematory; the military operation will start there 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 based on their political background, adding, "Russia pledged to the United States and the Gulf countries that they will not persecute anyone."

The official spokesman of the opposition's Central Operations Room of Southern Syria, General Ibrahim Jebbawi, confirmed the Russian "advice" to the FSA, saying, "It is true that Russia warned the FSA against going to 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 Latakia 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 in Daraa for about three weeks, killing and injuring dozens of civilians and displacing tens of thousands. Last Friday, the military campaign in Daraa ended with the FSA and Russia concluding a ceasefire agreement that included a demand for all FSA fighters that refuse the agreement to go to Idlib in Northern Syria.

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Editing Hasan Borhan| Translation Nouha Salti| Translation Editing Farah Nassif🕔Publication Date: July 10, 2018 10:18:13 AM wireMILITARYRussian military intervention
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