The residents of the city of Idlib in north-west of Syria have expressed their fears to North-Press from a blockade or a division due to bargains at their expense, after the advancement of the Syrian government forces in northwestern Syria and regaining their control over the de-escalation zones.
The Syrian government forces were able to advance rapidly in the southern and southeastern countryside of Idlib and in the western and northwestern countryside of Aleppo, after their control over the areas of Maarat al-Numan on December 29 and regaining the M5 Aleppo-Damascus highway on February 11, which led to a large displacement movement.
Wael al-Abdullah, who is from Saraqib and resides in Idlib for now, said to North-Press: "The control of the Syrian regime over the areas from Khan Shaykhun to Saraqib has caused a huge number of displacement, as the situation of the displaced in the camps, the gardens and the public places is miserable.”
Al-Abdullah added that despite the entry of Turkish military convoys via Bab al-Hawa and Kafr Lousin crossings into the Syrian territories, but they rely on the combination of the armed groups more in such conditions. “I wish the groups combine under one flag because there is no winner but Allah, and we don't rely on Turkey or others.”
On Wednesday, the Turkish President Erdogan demanded the withdrawal of the Syrian government forces from some positions in Idlib with the end of February, saying: "These are our last warnings, as the launch of a military operation in Idlib is close.”
While Khaled al-Mustafa, one of Idlib residents, said to North-Press that he fears from the continuation of the blockade of the areas which were under the control of the armed opposition groups, in light of the absence of any actual movement on the ground by Turkey, “which utters political statements only, because the result will be the besieging of Idlib, we may be subjected to a siege in the city of Idlib in any time.”
"The Syrian regime was able to take control over large areas of Idlib and Aleppo during a short period, and we lost a lot, while the Turkish army doesn't do anything or doesn't think to move or make something on the ground, but it only utters political statements, as all statements issued by Erdogan, the U.S. or Saudi Arabia are nonsense,” he added.
For his part, Khaled Bitar, from Idlib, talked to North-Press about the fears of the people from dividing the region, considering what is happening as bargains of sharing influence, "It is probably that there is a game with the Syrian regime, Russia and the U.S. under the table for handing some areas and sharing border areas.”
He added that the probability of division may stop the bloodshed and allow the displaced to go back to their homes, "Alas, Syria as a whole is originally divided.”
In a statement on Wednesday, The Syrian NGO Alliance (SNA) said that about one million Syrians were displaced due to the recent military operation in northwestern Syria, 81% of them were women and children.
SNA added that the IDP camps are crowded, one can rarely find houses for sheltering the displaced people, as there is no choice for the civilians but to stay in the open or under the trees.