Amidst daily Russian airstrikes, the regime has been warning residents and fighters alike in rebel-controlled areas in the northern Homs countryside of plans to launch a ground assault “in the coming hours,” reported the pro-regime Assad Homs News Network on Monday.
Residents in Talbisa and Rastan, two rebel-controlled towns, received SMS messages on Monday informing them of the imminent attack and ordering them to leave immediately.
It is the latest in a series of ominous warnings airdropped and texted to civilians in the encircled north Homs countryside. Now, people in Rastan “don’t feel anything anymore,” Amir a-Deek, a resident and teacher in Rastan, told Syria Direct’s Osama Abu Zeid on Tuesday.
“Death is always near and there are always planes overhead.”
Q: After receiving the messages from the regime, how did you respond?
We read the message and have received others like it. We know that the regime is trying to play a psychological game. This time after reading it, we didn’t feel anything. We see bombardments on a daily basis, especially this week, so it doesn’t make us feel anything anymore. Death is always near and there are always planes overhead.
Q: Have you thought about leaving and going to a more secure place?
We can’t leave the area because of the regime’s blockade. Besides, the closest area is dozens of kilometers away from us so we are staying. We don’t believe that the regime’s storming [of the region] will change anything. Those who don’t die in regime air raids will die when the regime invades, and the opposite is true.
Q: Do you believe the regime is capable of storming the region?
Not really. The area is reactively large. We trust that our destiny is tied to the destiny of the rebels and the Free Syrian army.