World, Middle East

'Assad forces behind protests in Idlib, Syria'

Participants in demonstrations were regime soldiers, sources say

'Assad forces behind protests in Idlib, Syria' file photo


Forces loyal to the Assad regime are behind the recent protests near Turkish observation posts in Idlib, northwestern Syria, according to security sources.

The forces often make attempts to disrupt peace in the region where Turkish soldiers are stationed to protect the local population and keep out terrorist groups.

The latest example of these attempts are demonstrations in regime-controlled areas.

The participants in these marches were in fact soldiers of Bashar al-Assad, the sources said on Sunday.

They added that soldiers in plainclothes pretending to be residents of Idlib are trying to change perception about the regime, which has already lost its influence and trust of the Syrian people.

Idlib falls within a de-escalation zone forged under an agreement between Turkey and Russia.

The region, lying along Turkey's southern border, has been the subject of multiple cease-fire violations by the regime and its allies.

An influx of displaced civilians has increased its population to about 4 million in recent years.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

*Writing by Burak Dag in Ankara

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