The ongoing attacks by Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria and its allies forced some 40,000 civilians to flee their homes in Idlib, a de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria, over the last two days, according to sources on the ground.
Forced migration gained momentum from central areas of Idlib and Ariah, Jabal Zawiya and Saraqib regions due to intensified attacks, according to Syria’s Response Coordination Group.
The attacks by the regime forces, Iranian-backed terror groups and Russian strikes stand as the main reasons behind the forced migration.
The majority of the displaced people arrived at the camps near Turkish border while some others took refuge in the areas cleared of terror elements following Turkey’s military campaigns.
Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of successful anti-terrorist operations across its border into northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor: Operations Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (October 2019).
With the latest displacements, the number of people displaced from Idlib and Aleppo since beginning of last year has mounted to nearly 1.68 million.
The civilians are facing great difficulty in finding places to take shelter as the refugee camps are overcrowded and lack essential infrastructure. Thousands of families are in dire need of humanitarian aid as they struggle to live under harsh winter conditions.
In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited. But, more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the de-escalation zone since then as the cease-fire continues to be violated.
In a fresh move, Turkey announced on Jan. 10 that a new cease-fire in Idlib would start just after midnight on Jan. 12. However, the regime and Iran-backed terrorist groups continued their attacks.
Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee-hosting country.
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