World, Middle East

12,000 people flee Idlib amid regime, Russian attacks

Aggression by Assad regime and its allies put Turkey and Europe at risk of another refugee wave

Esref Musa, Burak Karacaoglu   | 18.12.2019
12,000 people flee Idlib amid regime, Russian attacks


Fleeing attacks by the al-Assad regime and its allies, at least 12,000 civilians have been forced to abandon what is supposed to be a cease-fire zone in northwestern Syria and headed for the Turkish border.

Mohamed al-Hallaj, director of the Response Coordinators Team, told Anadolu Agency that the regime, Russia, and Iranian-backed foreign terror groups have struck civilian settlements in the past 24 hours.

The southern Marratinnuman district, located east of Idlib city, faced the highest migration rates, and fleeing families are in dire need of items such as shelter, blankets, beds and tents, he added.

A total of 110,000 civilians have been forced to leave Idlib since November due to intensifying attacks, Al-Hallaj underlined.

“Civilians, most of them children and women, look for shelter under olive trees,” he said.

He argued that the regime intentionally hits schools, hospitals, mosques, and civil defense centers in order to prevent civilians from returning home.   

Aggression in December alone  

Dec. 2: Airstrikes hit two marketplaces in Idlib, leaving a total of 14 civilians killed.

Dec. 7: Regime and Russian fighter jets strike Idlib again, at least 19 civilians killed.

Dec. 15: One child killed and seven people wounded in regime airstrikes.

Dec. 16: Russian airstrikes claim lives of five civilians in Idlib, including three children and two women.

According to the local administration, Idlib is home to some 2.4 million locals and 1.3 million internally displaced persons. If aggression by the regime and its allies continues, both Turkey and the European continent face the risk of another refugee influx.

Since Moscow and Ankara reached a deal in September 2018 under which acts of aggression in Idlib are supposed to be prohibited, over 1,300 civilians have been killed in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

Over a million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border following intense attacks.

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

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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