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Damascus to let civilians flee rebel-held Idlib

Damascus says 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.

The announcement came a day after government forces recaptured the strategic 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.

This file photo taken on March 14, 2019 shows destruction following an airstrike in the jihadist-held city of Idlib, northwestern Syria. (Muhammad Haj Kadour/AFP)

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 Assad.

Since January, it has been ruled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance, which is led by jihadists from Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

— AFP

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