On August 17, a public committee representing the civilians in the southwestern Aleppo released an official statement, in which it rejected the militants’ demand to evacuate the area and said that the locals will stay in their homes.
“There is no real reason to evacuate villages, such as a military buildup or reinforcements of the regime’s forces,” the committee said in its statement.
A day earlier, the militant operations room in the southwestern Aleppo countryside declared the villages of Banes, Birnah, al-Ottomania, Hwair al-Eis, Tell Bajir, Judiydah, Zummar and Jizrea a “military zone” and ordered civilians there to evacuate their homes within 48 hours.
Civilians in the northern and northwestern Hama countryside rejected a similar request of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) last month. These developments indicate that the civilians in the opposition-held areas are not willing to tolerate the aggressive behavior of militants anymore.
Russia, Turkey and Iran established several de-escalation zones in the opposition-held areas in northern Syria in the framework of the Astana process. However, HTS and other armed groups violated the agreement countless times.
Now the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies are preparing to launch a military operation in order to secure some areas in northern Syria and force the remaining militants to respect the de-escalation agreement.