Syrians flee Idlib

Syrian children fleeing Idlib ride on the back of a truck in Azaz, Syria, 24 January 2020. Syrian children fleeing Idlib ride on the back of a truck in Azaz, Syria, 24 January 2020. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

27 January 2020

Thousands of Syrians flee Idlib as regime combatants gain territory

In northwest Syria, thousands are fleeing to the Turkish border as President Bashar al-Assad’s army continues capturing rebel-held neighborhoods. Since 24 January, Assad’s forces have captured 22 towns and successfully cut across a highway that connects the capital of Damascus to the northern city of Aleppo. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights estimated that over 120,000 people have fled from the countryside in the last 12 days. 

The neighborhoods attacked by Assad’s forces have been held by rebel forces for almost eight years during the Syrian Civil War. The recent push to recapture rebel-held towns comes after a ceasefire agreement between Turkey and Russia, who support opposite sides of the conflict, was discussed on 12 January. The rebel-held towns in northern Syria are the final territories Assad must capture to gain complete control of the country. According to a Reuters article published on 27 January, The Observatory, which has been keeping track of casualties since the start of the war, has estimated that  200 combat deaths have occurred in the region since 24 January 2020. 

Reuters also reported that Turkey, which backs the rebel cause, already hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees and fears that 120,000 more claimants might be too much of a burden to take on. Since the beginning of the civil war in 2011, more than half of Syria’s population (11 million people) have been displaced, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). This new wave of displaced Syrian civilians is expected to affect neighboring European and North African nations. For the time being, aid workers from the Observatory said the civilians fleeing Idlib are expected to stay in northern Syria along the Turkish border. 

 

To read more, visit: 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security/thousands-flee-northwest-syria-as-assad-pushes-closer-to-idlib-city-idUSKBN1ZQ25G

https://www.wfp.org/countries/syrian-arab-republic

http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=153858

 

Author: Vito Quaglia; Editor: Rachel Warner

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