The situation in Syria's northwestern Idlib escalated again due to ceaseless attacks by the Bashar Assad regime and Russia, leading to the forced displacement of thousands of civilians. Moving toward the Turkey-Syria border, most of them are in desperate need of housing, security and medical aid.
Following eight months of calm provided by the Sochi deal, the Assad regime intensified its attacks starting April 26 under the pretext of fighting Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorists holed up in Idlib. Since then, the situation has gotten even worse, taking the lives of innumerable civilians. Residential areas have been destroyed by indiscriminate attacks, while numerous educational facilities, health facilities and residential areas have collapsed or have become unusable after being targeted by bombs. Those who fled the attacks, mostly live in desperate states devoid of a hygienic atmosphere, in need of clean water and food. Even though nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) set up camps and sent trucks of food and medical aid, these efforts are far from enough.
"If humanity is still out there, help us," said Mustafa Abdullah, who had to abandon his home in Kafranbel due to the constant airstrikes.
Another victim of displacement, Isa Shakir, who had to move first to the south of Idlib from Hama five years ago and then was forced to migrate to the camps on the border, expressed his despair by saying, "Does nobody see what we are going through? We do not know where to go. For now, we will be in the Seraqib district and then we will unload our property where we can find an NGO."
The attacks by the regime and Russia in the de-escalation zone continued during the Muslim religious festival of Qurban Bayram, also known as Eid al-Adha, causing around 124,000 civilians to flee toward camps along the Turkey-Syria border. Syrian regime forces captured five villages in the country's northwest early Wednesday, inching closer to the major opposition-controlled town Khan Sheikhun. The Response Coordination Group, a relief group active in northwestern Syria, said in a statement Wednesday that more than 40,000 people have fled their homes in areas close to the fighting since early Tuesday.
The international community has frequently condemned the regime and its backer Russia. However, despite all the tragedy that has been going on in the region since the Syrian civil war led by Bashar Assad erupted in 2011, Russia and the regime's heavy bombardments and attacks on the de-escalation zone continue, showing that sufficient action has not been taken.
Meanwhile, another six civilians, most of them children, died yesterday and three more were injured. The head of the White Helmets Mustafa Hac Yusuf announced that the warplanes of Russia and the regime attacked the town of Deir al-Sharqi in southern Idlib. The civil defense organization also pointed out that civilians and rescue groups are generally the first targets of these attackers.