By Burak Kocaoglu and Esref Musa
A recent agreement between Ankara and Moscow to demilitarize Syria's northwestern Idlib province has given hope to the region’s civilians for a brighter future.
Idlib residents shared their views about the agreement -- and about their future plans -- with Anadolu Agency.
“We trust Turkey; we feel comfortable when Turkey is strong and active in the region. We wave Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Turkish flags at our demonstrations,” Ahmad Zarzur said.
“The FSA flag is a symbol of our resistance and the Turkish flag is a symbol of our confidence and trust,” he added.
“We see this agreement as a good thing for us. We hope it will bring good results for the people of Idlib,” Zarzur said.
Bedir Kaysi, who recently moved to Idlib from Homs, said: “We thank Turkey and it’s people so much because they didn’t abandon us.”
Abdussalem Hassan, the manager of a hospital in Idlib, said: “We want Turkey to provide confidence to the region. We also call for the help of aid organizations.”
On Monday, Ankara and Moscow signed an agreement calling for the demilitarization of Idlib.
According to the agreement, opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas in which they are already present, while Russia and Turkey will conduct joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing any renewal of fighting.
Turkish and Russian military forces, meanwhile, will conduct joint patrols along the zone's perimeter.
Located near the Turkish border, Idlib is home to more than three million Syrians, many of whom fled other cities following attacks by Assad regime forces.
Last month, the Syrian regime announced plans to launch a major military offensive in Idlib, Syria’s last opposition stronghold.
But the UN warned that such a move could lead to the “worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century”.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.