Syria: UN Reports Half-Million Displaced by Fighting in Idlib

  • Syrian government troops, with Russian support, recently launched an attack on the Idlib province.
  • On Monday, fierce battles took place between the Syrian and Turkish troops, which killed several people.
  • The Russian military claims that Turkish aviation did not violate Syrian airspace and did not strike at the positions of the Syrian army.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, David Swanson, reported that more than half a million people have been forced to flee their homes in Idlib over the last two months. “Since 1 December, some 520,000 people have been displaced from their homes, the vast majority – 80 percent – of them women and children,” he said. Swanson noted that their movement in winter exacerbated the already “terrible humanitarian situation in the region.”

Idlib Governorate is one of the 14 governorates (provinces) of Syria. In 2011, the Governorate was taken over by rebel militias, who have controlled it since then.

Syrian government troops, with Russian support, recently launched an attack on the Idlib province, which was controlled mainly by jihadist groups and rebel forces. The forces of President Bashar al-Assad managed to conquer several strategically important cities. In 2018, Russia and Turkey agreed to create de-escalation zones in Idlib, which borders Turkey. Ankara, supporting Syrian rebels, established 12 observation posts in Idlib. The Syrian army, however, is conducting a military operation in this province, winning over new territories from the rebels.

On Monday, fierce battles took place between the Syrian and Turkish troops, which killed several people. A spokesman for the ruling AK party in Turkey said Syrian forces in the Turkish observation post area in Idlib will now be seen as hostile targets. On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on Turkey and Syria to cease hostilities in the region. He stressed that the military conflict, which has lasted almost nine years, has no military solution.

Assad Soldiers Killed Six Turkish Soldiers in Idlib

The Syrian Army, during an attack on jihadists and rebels in the province of Idlib , killed six Turkish soldiers. Nine more Turkish soldiers were injured, and one of them was seriously injured, the Turkish Ministry of Defense said on Monday. Assad’s soldiers dealt an artillery strike, despite the fact that they were informed about the coordinates of the deployment of Turkish troops.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a Turkish politician serving as the 12th and current President of Turkey since 2014. He previously served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014 and as Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998.

The Turkish Army retaliated against the Syrian Army. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said F-16 fighters attacked 46 targets in Syria, with an estimated 30 to 35 Syrian soldiers killed. “Turkey responded with a powerful blow to the shelling in Idlib and will continue to do so,” the Turkish president emphasized.

Russian Military Refutes Erdogan’s Statement 

Meanwhile, the Russian military claims that Turkish aviation did not violate Syrian airspace and did not strike at the positions of the Syrian army, Interfax reported. “The airspace above the Idlib de-escalation zone is constantly monitored by the Russian Air Force. The Turkish Air Force did not violate the Syrian state border, there were no attacks on the positions of the Syrian troops,” the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the warring parties told reporters.

According to the same source, the Turkish military fell under the fire of the Syrian troops, opened on terrorists. As a result of the shelling from the Syrian side, several Turkish soldiers were injured.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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