Residents of Syria’s Idlib look to Turkey for security

Residents of Syria’s northwestern city of Idlib are calling on Turkey to help ensure their security amid fears of an imminent assault by the Assad regime.

Gathering after Friday prayers, residents of different districts of Idlib and western Aleppo marched through the streets holding banners written in English, Turkish and Arabic.

“We have no friends except Allah and the Turks,” one banner read. “Assad and his allies are terrorists; Turkey is a source of peace,” read another.

In May, Idlib was designated a “de-escalation zone” — in which acts of aggression are expressly forbidden — as part of the ongoing Astana process.

Nevertheless, for the past two months, Idlib has remained the target of fierce air bombardments by Russia and Assad regime forces.

“Idlib is a microcosm of Syria,” Ahmed Firas Allush, head of Idlib’s opposition-run local council, told Anadolu Agency.

“We have continued to resist here,” he said. “And we will continue to resist to the last drop of blood.”

Allush called on Turkey not to abandon Idlib, Syria’s last major opposition stronghold.

“We would support Turkey’s entrance into the region to take it under its protection,” demonstrator Ahmed Islam told Anadolu Agency.

“Millions will flee if the regime launches an assault,” he said. “It would be a bloodbath.”

“We reject claims that terrorists are in Idlib,” Allush added. “Only civilians and displaced people live here.”

Basel Hawwa, another demonstrator, said the aim of Friday’s rally was to urge the international community to intervene on Idlib’s behalf to prevent a feared regime assault.

“Idlib should come under Turkish control, just like Afrin and Jarabalus,” Hawwa asserted, referring to two other cities in northern Syria where Turkish troops have been deployed.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.

Source: Anadolu

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