The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria called for militants remaining in Idlib to leave the populated areas in the province to avoid casualties among civilians.

The Commission has confirmed that the various armed factions and terror groups occupy the cities in Idlib province, urging the militants to leave. “Most of those terrorist groups and other armed groups, they are in the cities. Perhaps one wonderful scenario is: leave the cities,” commission chief Paulo Pinheiro said.

Pinheiro was supported by his colleague Hany Magally, who stressed that the armed groups should move out to spare the civilian population.

However, it is unlikely that the militants will follow the UN advice. Idlib is largely controlled by Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS), former Al Qaeda wing in Syria, which is internationally considered a terror group. HTS militants are excluded from peaceful initiative propelled by the Syrian government and the international parties. The militants have also rejected Turkish suggestions to dissolve the group.

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