Turkey, Middle East

Over 300,000 displaced in Idlib: Turkish official

Turkish interior minister says over 300,000 people displaced due to bombardments in Syria's northwestern Idlib province

Muhammed Boztepe   | 07.01.2020
Over 300,000 displaced in Idlib: Turkish official

ANKARA

Bombing by Russian-backed forces of the Bashar Assad regime in Syria has displaced more than 300,000 people in Idlib province in the northwest of the country, Turkey's interior minister said Tuesday.

Turkey will never abandon its neighboring countries, said Suleyman Soylu in the country's capital Ankara, adding that Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) and the Turkish Red Crescent have helped many of the affected.

Turkey is continuing with intensive efforts to help all displaced people with its official and non-governmental organizations, Soylu underlined.

He said Turkey would never leave Syrian children to the bombardments and death.

Soylu also stressed Turkey's importance for the Middle East by, saying: "As long as Turkey has peace and stability, the region will have peace and stability."

On Dec. 20, the 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.

Airstrikes on the region were halted following a visit to Moscow by a Turkish delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal on Dec. 23.

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

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 1 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to the intense attacks last year.

According to the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Idlib province is home to around 3 million civilians, 75% of them women and children.

*Writing by Fahri Aksut

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