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Attacks in Idlib, Syria make 2,000 flee in 24 hours

December 25, 2019 at 6:00 pm

Syrians are seen with their belongings who have been forced to displace due to the ongoing attacks carried out by Assad regime and Russia, during winter season at makeshift tent area in Harbanos town of Idlib, Syria on 24 December 2019. [Muhammed Said – Anadolu Agency]

Violating the cease-fire agreement between Turkey and Russia, intense attacks by the Syrian regime, Russia, and Iranian-backed groups in Idlib, northwestern Syria have forced 2,000 more civilians to flee the Syrian region in the last 24 hours, according to sources on the ground, Anadolu reports.

With the latest developments, the number of civilians who fled Idlib since November has reached 217,000.

On Dec. 20, the Assad regime and its allies launched a military campaign mainly in the cities of Maarat Al-Numan and Saraqib as well as the surrounding rural areas, capturing 35 residential areas.

Families need urgent basic supplies such as shelter, blankets, and beds in the areas where they took shelter, Mohammad Hallaj, director of Syria’s Response Coordination Group, told Anadolu Agency.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

READ: Syria regime and Russia attacks killed 979 aid workers 

Since then, more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the de-escalation zone as the cease-fire continues to be violated.

Over a million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to the intense attacks over the last year.

After a Turkish Cabinet meeting yesterday, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey expects a halt to these attacks as soon as possible through a new cease-fire.

According to the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, the Idlib province is home to around three million civilians, 75% of them women and children.

Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making Turkey the world’s top refugee-hosting country.

Ankara has so far spent $40 billion for the refugees, according to official figures.