World, Middle East

Syria: Attacks force 215,000 to flee Idlib in 2 months

Majority of civilians fleeing civil war-weary region head to areas near Turkish border, creating new refugee influx

Esref Musa, Mehmet Burak Karacaoglu   | 24.12.2019
Syria: Attacks force 215,000 to flee Idlib in 2 months

IDLIB, Syria 

Violating the cease-fire agreement between Turkey and Russia, the intense attack of Syrian regime, Russia and Iran backed-groups in Idlib have forced no few than 215,000 civilians to flee the Syrian region since November.

Forced migration in Syria's Idlib continues

IDLIB, SYRIA - DECEMBER 24: Syrian families, who have been forced to displace due to the ongoing attacks carried out by Assad regime and Russia, are seen on their way to safer zones with their belongings, on December 24, 2019 in Idlib, Syria. In the last 2 days, 10,000 more civilians fled to safer zones due to the attacks on settlements in Idlib de-escalation zone. ( İzzeddin İdilbi - Anadolu Agency )

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.

In the past two days, some 10,000 civilians out of 215,000 fled as a result of the attacks, Mohammad Halaj, the head of Syria’s Response Coordination Group, said on Tuesday.

If violence against the people of Idlib does not end, the number of people, who have to leave Syria, will surge, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, stressing the severity of the imminent humanitarian catastrophe.

The majority of people who had to flee the violence went to camps in Atmah, Qah, Deir Hassan and Kafr Lusin, areas liberated by the Turkish military operations, while others headed to olive grove farms near the Turkish border.

Families need urgent basic supplies such as shelters, blankets and beds in the areas where they took shelter, according to Anadolu Agency reporters on the ground.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed 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 a million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to the intense attacks within one year.

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

Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in over 3.6 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.

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