… That’s right, the Russian-Assad side wasn’t only inviting civilians to pass to safety but also offering fighters — not to surrender, but to be evacuated with their light arms, to the main rebel-held area and continue their war from there.
Neither was this any kind of trick — the Syrian government has already stuck by its word in similar deals that saw hundreds of rebels evacuated from their untenable mini-pockets in western part of the country around Damascus and transported to the rebel stronghold in Idlib.
It should be noted this approach is unique to the government side. In four years of the war the rebels have never offered encircled Syrian army troops to be evacuated to larger government-held areas. At most they have left captured soldiers go in prisoner exchanges, albeit just as often encircled loyalist soldiers whose positions were overrun would be subject to a public mass execution — to be diligently recorded for use in jihadi propaganda videos.