The Damascus government is preparing to open a humanitarian crossing with the northwestern region of Greater Idlib which is occupied by terrorist groups and Turkish forces, Russia’s Sputnik reported on February 20.
Sputnik’s reporter in the region said the humanitarian crossing will be used to evacuate civilians to areas controlled by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies.
“Government agencies have begun preparing a humanitarian crossing in the town of Saraqib in coordination with the Russian side to ensure the evacuation of civilians wishing to leave the areas controlled by armed factions towards the areas held by the Syrian state,” a Syrian official told the Russian news network.
According to the official, government agencies are working to provide all necessary services, including medical assistance and temporary shelters. The official said that the preparations will be completed on February 22. The crossing will likely open then.
Local sources in Greater Idlib told Sputnik that al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the de facto ruler of the region, is already warning civilians from approaching the crossing.
Over the last year, the terrorist group made a number of attempts to open a trade crossing with government-held areas. At the same time, the group used force to prevent civilians from leaving the region.
Turkish pressure could force HTS to allow the evacuation process. However, Ankara does not appear to be interested in any solution that would weaken terrorist groups in Greater Idlib.
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