Assad Helicopters Drop Leaflets Demanding Disarmament of Homs Rebels

Assad regime gives opposition forces in the Homs countryside until Thursday to hand over weapons, threatening escalation if rebels do not comply

Regime helicopters dropped leaflets on areas where Syrian opposition forces are present in the Homs countryside on Wednesday, demanding they hand over their weapons before Thursday, February 4. This coincides with rumors from Geneva III of a renewed push from the UN envoy Staffan de Mistura for the opposition and regime to agree to a ceasefire.

Al-Souria Net’s correspondent in the Homs countryside, Yaarib al-Daali, obtained a photo of the leaflets, in which the regime claims “the war is nearing its end,” calling on opposition forces to expel “foreign fighters” from their areas as safe passage will be provided for their exit. It also demands they surrender their weapons in exchange for “regularizing their status, and returning displaced people to their homes.”

The regime indicated in the leaflets that “the opposition forces have an opportunity until February 4”, threatening that in the event they do not surrender their weapons, the “reconciliation” efforts will stop, and military operations (which have not stopped in the first place) will resume. The regime indicated that a return to fighting will result in heavy losses.

It appears the Assad regime is indifferent to the demands of the opposition at the ongoing Geneva talks — most prominently to stop bombardment, bring aid to blockaded people, and release prisoners — as Daali said the regime and Russian warplanes carried out at least 200 air raids over the last two days in areas of the Homs countryside, resulting in civilian casualties and coinciding with heavy clashes with opposition forces.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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