IDLIB, Syria (North Press) – Residents of Ghab Plain, in the Turkish-backed opposition-held areas in the western Hama countryside, fear of the return of battles to the area, especially after the mobilization of Syrian government forces on the outskirts and the reinforcement of armed opposition groups to their positions there.
For the last few months, dozens of families have returned to their houses in Ghab Plain. However, their fears of military operations returned due to the last month of attacks, especially after the targeting of a joint Russian-Turkish patrol on the M4 highway.
A journalist from Ghab Plain, who preferred to be unidentified, said that Turkish military points in Zawiya Mountain and Ghab Plain repeatedly hold meetings which in they promise the residents that Turkey is ready to defend the area in the case of a Syrian government military operation.
"All Turkish declarations of stopping the government from advancing and regaining the cities that it took with Russian support were mere words," he added.
He stressed that the Turkish assurances "are no longer trusted by the people due to the repeated promises and previous reassurances that were mere illusion."
Local resident Baraa Ghabi said that residents' back movements to their villages and towns in the region have slowed due to fears of new military operations.
He told North Press that the absence of Turkey increased the fears, "though Turkey promised people it would counter the government's advance, it did not convince them."
Armed clashes took place in the countryside of Hama, Idlib, and Latakia between Syrian government forces and Turkish-backed armed opposition groups on July 18 after the targeting of a joint Russian-Turkish patrol on the M4 highway, in which three Russian soldiers were wounded.
During the past two days, intensive artillery shelling took place between Fateh al-Mubin opposition groups and government troops in the northwestern Hama countryside.
Haj Abu Hussin, who returned to his house in Qaston town, said that he returned because of deteriorating living conditions in north Idlib and the camps, which he described as "the camps of humiliation."
He also hopes to live safe in his house and work in his land in order to sustain his family, "but now we fear the military operations will return."
"We do not want to be displaced again and live in the border camps; we fear Turkey will hand our areas over to the government," he added.
He confirmed that "Turkey promised to protect Madiq Castle and Khan Sheikhoun through their observation points, but it did not, and it also displaced their residents."