Thousands of people from Hama and Idlib provinces have returned to their homes after an agreement by Turkey and Russia to set up a demilitarized zone in Idlib. The Syrian Coalition descried the agreement as necessary step to protect civilians and thwart the Assad regime’s attempts to displace the population.
Tens of thousands of people were internally displaced by an intense aerial bombing campaign by the Assad regime and its allies in Idlib and neighboring provinces. Most of the displaced people headed towards the border with Turkey. Local activists pointed out that the relative calm that followed the agreement encouraged most of the displaced to return to their homes.
Activists said that about 5,000 people have returned to their homes in southern rural Idlib and northern rural Hama over the past two days.
One of the displaced people, Marhaf al-Jadou, told AFP that he was tired of running from the shelling and airstrikes. He demanded guarantees for returning home and that no more airstrikes will take place.
“Enough of being displaced and living in tents. We want to return to our homes and our children to return to their schools. We do not want to be displaced once again, third and fourth.”
Ali al-Zaatari, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Syria, on Tuesday welcomed the Russian-Turkish agreement, expressing hope that it “will allow for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and for the saving of civilian lives.”
The Syrian Coalition earlier said that it would deal with the agreement with “all seriousness and positivity as it came as the fruit of the resilience and steadfastness the Syrian people have shown in the face of all threats and attacks facing them.”
“The agreement also came as the culmination of Turkey’s determined, valiant efforts to ease the tension; thwart the Assad regime’s fiendish plans; and avert a dreadful humanitarian disaster affecting the region and civilians living in it.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)