Damascus to let civilians flee rebel-held Idlib
DAMASCUS, Aug 22: Damascus said on Thursday it is opening a corridor for civilians to leave the rebel-held northwestern region of Idlib, where government bombardment has killed hundreds since late April, state media said.
The announcement came a day after government forces captured the key Idlib province town of Khan Sheikhun from jihadists and allied rebels.
Damascus has opened such corridors out of other rebel bastions in the past as a prelude to retaking them either by force or through negotiated surrenders.
The Idlib region, which sits on the Turkish border, is now the last major stronghold of opposition to the Russia-backed government of President Bashar al-Assad. Wednesday's advance saw government forces cutting of a pocket of territory stretching from the south of Idlib province into neighbouring Hama, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said.
"The Syrian government announces the opening of a humanitarian corridor in Souran in the northern countryside of Hama province," state news agency SANA quoted a foreign ministry source as saying Thursday. -AFP