Syrian military helicopters dropped early on January 12 thousands of leaflets over Aleppo’s western and southwestern countryside.
In the leaflets, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) called on civilians to leave the region through three humanitarian crossings, in al-Hadher, Abu Duhur and al-Hobait, which are set to open on January 13.
“Armed terrorist groups want to use you as human shields to prevent Syrian military units from advancing to save you and clear your areas from criminal terrorist,” the leaflet reads.
A ceasefire, that was brokered by Russia and Turkey, became active in the Greater Idlib region, including the western and southern Aleppo countryside, on January 12 midnight.
Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) violated the new ceasefire within a few hours by shelling Aleppo’s city center. Three civilians were killed and five others, mainly children, were injured as a result.
The SAA usually drops warning leaflets ahead of large-scale military operation. The army massed a large number of units in Aleppo over the last month. However, with a ceasefire in place, an operation in the region remains highly unlikely now.