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27,000 civilians fled northern Syria in three days: monitor

Local | 2020-01-19 19:45:00
 27,000 civilians fled northern Syria in three days: monitor
(Zaman Al Wasl)- About 27,000 people, mostly women and children, have fled the rebel-held countryside of Aleppo in the past 72 hours since regime forces backed by Shiite militias began major offensive on Friday, local war monitoring said. 

The Syrian Response Coordinators Group said about 4700 families, including discalced people, have fled the southern and western countryside to escape the aerial and ground campaign.

The displaced civilians headed to areas near the Turkish border due to the attacks which violate the cease-fire agreement between Turkey and Russia.

Mohammad Hallaj, the director of the group, told Anadolu Agency that the civilians left their homes in Darat Izzah district and several towns, including Khan Tuman, Khan al-Asal, Kafr Naya, and al-Qasimia due to attacks supported by Russian air strikes.

Due to the increasing displaced population, the tent camps in Idlib fail to meet the need of war-weary Syrians as there is not enough space to set up more tents. Thousands of families are currently in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

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

However, 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.

As a fresh move, Turkey announced on Jan. 10 that a new cease-fire in Idlib rocked by violence -- though “acts of aggression” are already officially banned -- is set to start just after midnight on Sunday, Jan. 12.

Separately a day earlier, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced a cease-fire in the region taking effect at 2.00 p.m. local time (1200GMT).

However, the regime and Iran-backed terrorist groups continued their ground attacks despite the fresh cease-fire.

Over a million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks over the last year.

Around 350,000 Syrians, mostly women and children, have fled a renewed Russian-backed offensive in the opposition-held Idlib province since early December, and have sought shelter in border areas near Turkey, the United Nations said Thursday.
United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called Friday for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Idlib, saying that the latest Syrian ceasefire had "yet again failed to protect civilians".

"It is deeply distressing that civilians are still being killed on a daily basis in missile strikes from both the air and ground," Bachelet said in a statement on the ceasefire, which was due to be implemented nearly a week ago.

Meanwhile, the armed factions have thwarted regime army incursion into strategic hilltops in eastern Idlib region, rebel commander told Zaman al-Wasl Sunday.

The regime forces backed by allied militias were pushing to take the hilltops of Khatra and Mosaitef but the three-hour clashes halted their advance, according to Naji Mustaf, commander in the National Front.

 More than 20 forces, including 2 officers, were killed, Mustafa added.

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 Turkey the world’s top refugee-hosting country.

Zaman Al Wasl, Agencies

Zaman Al Wasl
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