Syrian rebels pinned down in a strategic area where the Israeli and Lebanese borders meet with Syria were handed an ultimatum by the Syrian army and its militia allies to either surrender or face certain military defeat, rebels said Tuesday.

The Syrian army, local militias financed and equipped by Iran, and Druze fighters from the area have been escalating a fierce assault against Sunni rebels in an enclave in the foothills of Mount Hermon.

“They were given 72 hours to surrender with fighters to go to Idlib, or those who want to stay have to reach a settlement,” said Ibrahim al-Jebawi, a Free Syrian Army (FSA) official familiar with the situation on the ground.

Another rebel official who asked not to be named said they were told either to surrender or accept a “military solution.”

After more than two months of near daily shelling and aerial strikes, the rebels have been left encircled in Beit Jin, their main stronghold, after losing strategic hills and farms around it this week.

The media unit of Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group, said that insurgents had agreed to negotiate surrender terms and that negotiations had already begun over their evacuation in the next few days to rebel-held Idlib.

The Syrian army has used similar tactics of pushing opponents to rebel areas further from the Syrian capital after a twin tactic of siege and months of strikes on residential areas.

There were also more than 8,000 civilians who have been trapped in the remaining enclaves, with their plight worsening, according to rebel spokesman Sohaib Alraheel.

Source: Voice of America

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Syrian rebels pinned down in a strategic area where the Israeli and Lebanese borders meet with Syria were handed an ultimatum by the Syrian army and its militia allies to either surrender or face certain military defeat, rebels said Tuesday.The Syrian army, local militias financed and equipped by Iran,...