The Assad regime and Russian forces have once again escalated military operations, bombing densely populated areas in northern Syria controlled by the opposition, raising questions about the fate of the de-escalation agreement.
A recent poll conducted by a correspondent from Baladi News reflects the unanimous sentiment among civilians in northern Syria, who have been living through terrifying and catastrophic days. Many respondents believe that the Turkish guarantor, who is committed to overseeing de-escalation, should step up and fulfill their responsibilities.
Mohammed Salem, the director of the studies unit at the Abaad Center for Strategic Studies, has issued a warning about the regime forces’ shelling in opposition areas in northern Syria. He emphasizes that this poses a serious threat to the relative calm the region has experienced, especially over the past year. Salem also denies the opposition’s involvement in the attack on the military academy in the central city of Homs on October 5th.
In contrast, the general consensus among those polled is that the opposition’s response has been inadequate given the scale of the bombardment in Idleb and the Aleppo countryside. Citizens in these areas stress that the armed opposition factions bear a significant responsibility for the protection of civilians, although they are perceived as lacking in strength.
There’s a belief among some that the Assad regime and Iran may be pressuring Moscow to launch a major military campaign to retake Idleb. They may exploit the targeting of the military college in Homs to mobilize loyalists under the pretext of external threats and a war on “terrorism.”
Activists, however, dispute the success of such an escalation without the support of their Russian ally to alter the frontlines.
Despite differing opinions on the fate of the de-escalation zone and the possibility of it sliding into a new cycle of battles, recent regional and global events suggest that the regime’s military actions are not in its best interest. This is particularly true in light of developments in the military situation in Gaza since October 7th.
In general, it is not in the interest of the Syrian regime and its allies to open new fronts in the north and south of the country, especially considering the presence of Iranian militias and threats from Israel. These factors put the regime and its allies in a precarious position. However, it appears that the Iranian and Syrian regimes are trying to avoid engaging in a potential battle to support Palestinian factions amidst the al-Aqsa flood initiated by the Qassam Brigades in Palestine.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.