Thousands Flee Bombardment in Northwest Syria, Head to Turkish Border

Air strikes killed six people overnight in Maarat al Numan and 11 were killed in villages in the area, rescue teams said

Reuters
Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Smoke rising from the town of Kafr Ruma in the south of Syria's northwestern Idlib province following a reported air strike there, December 3, 2019
Smoke rising from the town of Kafr Ruma in the south of Syria's northwestern Idlib province following a reported air strike there, December 3, 2019Credit: AFP
Reuters
Reuters

Thousands of people have fled to the Turkish border from the last big opposition stronghold in northwestern Syria because of an intensified bombardment by Russian forces and the Syrian army, residents and rescue workers said on Friday.

A long line of vehicles was seen on Friday leaving the opposition-held city of Maarat al Numan which has borne the brunt of the attacks, which included air strikes, they said.

"The exodus is in the thousands. It's a humanitarian catastrophe, we are seeing people walking in the streets and people waiting near the homes for cars to take them out," said Osama Ibrahim, a rescue worker from Maarat al Numan.

Air strikes killed six people overnight in Maarat al Numan and 11 were killed in villages in the area, rescue teams said.

Hundreds of people have been killed this year in attacks on residential areas in the region, according to U.N. agencies, though a Syrian and Russian military campaign launched at the end of April had subsided in August under a fragile ceasefire.

Syrian state media said the Syrian army had pushed into several villages southeast of Idlib.

Rebel fighters, who say the Russian and Syrian forces are implementing a scorched earth policy as they advance, said villages seized included Um Jalal in southern Idlib province and Rabea and Harbiya in eastern Idlib.

Russia and the Syrian army, which is loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, deny allegations of indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas and say they are fighting al Qaeda-inspired Islamist militants.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who reached an accord last September with Russia to contain the fighting and whose country is seen by many civilians in opposition areas as a protector, has warned of a renewed refugee influx.

Erdogan said on Thursday 50,000 people were fleeing Syria's northwestern region of Idlib. He did not say whether any of the people fleeing had entered Turkey.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op