e Syrian army has unleashed a massive bombardment of a rebel enclave as President Bashar al-Assad seeks to crush the last remaining opposition strongholds. Backed by Russia under Iran, Assad's forces now control much of Syria while rebel groups hold territory in the northwest and southwest. It's one pocket of that territory that the Syrian Army hit with 140 air strikes earlier on Monday, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The area, centered on the town of Rastan, is the largest remaining encircled rebel stronghold. Later on Monday, state TV said the military would ceasefire to allow rebel groups to surrender before quote, the military operation begins. Last week, a Syrian minister said the enclave would be the next target after Assad's forces retook all rebel areas around Damascus.
A goal it looked closer to realizing after reports that two rebel groups have agreed to withdraw from a pocket in Southern Damascus. State media says the bombardment of Al-Hajar al-Aswad where islamic State fighters are based continues. But also showed footage of bulldozers clearing roads in preparation for a withdrawal.
Rebel sources said the jihadists Tahrir Al-Sham alliance and the Free Syrian Army were the two groups who had agreed to leaver for opposition held Idlib in the country's north. Tens of thousands of fighters had fled there as the Syrian Army advanced and it's the largest populated rebel-held area in Syria.
That’s face of a new humanitarian crisis.
en the Syrian military and it's international backers turn their fire power on a region that's home to an estimated two million civilians.