By Cody Roark
Deadly bombings intensify in the Syrian province of Idlib. Tens of thousands of Syrian civilians are fleeing the province of Idlib after an increase of bombings from Russian-backed government forces. United Nations observers have reported at least 18,ooo residents were displaced in 24 hours as a result of the deadly bombings.
In an attempt to advance into the last rebel held province in Syria, Syrian and Russian forces have increased artillery and aerial bombardments of the region. As a result, 80,000 civilians have fled Idlib to Turkey’s border in the last five days alone. Turkey closed its border after eight years of civil war in Syria caused over 3 million people to seek safety within the confines of the country. Now around one million refugees are camping in open fields near the border to try and stay safe.
In the past month over 250,000 people have been forced to flee for their lives and at least 160 people have been killed in the bombings. It is believed that the actual number of dead is much higher than 160. The United Nations said on Thursday that disaster could be imminent if the violence does not end.
Syrian locals that have been living through the destruction have described the attacks as indiscriminate in their targets. Hospitals, markets, and homes have all been targets at one point or another. Public anger over the bombardments has spilled into the streets of Idlib. Residents of Idlib came out by the hundreds to publicly denounce what they refer to as neglect of their plight by the international community. They’ve also called for a swift halt of the bombings. The activists have said they’re planning on marching to the Turkish border, to protest for the border to be opened once more, in an attempt to ease the refugees’ situation.
Russia insists that the Syrian government must eventually take control of Idlib and remove extremist Islamist militants from the region. Turkey has called for the cease of hostilities in the providence. The country also called for Idlib to remain under rebel control in order to prevent further waves of refugees from fleeing to Turkey and to give the rebels more leverage in a peace settlement.
The conflict and violence in Syria has been going on for quite some time with no end in sight. Only time will tell for the true endgame of Syria’s civil war. Be it peace between the government and the rebels or the success of the Syrian/Russian military campaign to eradicate Islamist extremists from the country. For now, however, it would seem as though the civilians of Idlib are caught in the middle and paying the price, making for a humanitarian crisis for the winter months.