- Title: Hundreds flee as Syrian army intensifies attack on Idlib
- Date: 24th December 2019
- Summary: NEAR BAB AL-HAWA (SYRIAN-TURKISH BORDER), SYRIA (DECEMBER 24, 2019) (REUTERS) CARS PASSING UNDER ROAD SIGN VARIOUS OF TRUCKS AND CARS CARRYING PEOPLE AND PERSONAL ITEMS FLEEING MAARAT AL-NUMAN TRUCKS CARRYING ITEMS / PEOPLE ON ROADSIDE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MOSQUE IMAM DISPLACED FROM MAARAT AL-NUMAN, MOHAMAD ABDALLAH, SAYING: "Shells and aerial bombing, every five minutes there are explosions from barrels and shells. We ran away to hide from shells until we found a car. We left with only our clothes on..with our pyjamas. We did not find homes or anyone to help us and children were crying when they saw the shells. We came to the mosque to hide until we found a way. Maarat was totally destroyed, what is in Maarat? Why are they bombing it all day? We ran away. Once we found a car we got in it my wife, children and I." VARIOUS OF CARS AND TRUCK CARRYING DISPLACED PEOPLE AND PERSONAL ITEMS DISPLACED PEOPLE GATHERED / SITTING ON BLANKETS WOMEN AND CHILD WALKING / WOMAN CARRYING BLANKET ON HEAD VARIOUS OF DISPLACED PEOPLE SITTING ON GROUND (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DISPLACED MAN FROM MAARAT AL-NUMAN, NOOMAN BADER, SAYING: "We are from Maarat al-Numan. The warplanes of criminal Bashar al-Assad hit us with everything; shells, bombs. We pulled out people from under the wreckage. We could not stay anymore. We could not get anything with us. We just left our homes and ran away. We sat in the streets." PEOPLE WALKING AMONG PARKED MOTORBIKES DISPLACED MAN FROM MAARAT AL-NUMAN, ABU ABDALLAH, TALKING TO ANOTHER MAN (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MAN DISPLACED FROM MAARAT AL-NUMAN, ABU ABDALLAH, SAYING: "We are from Maarat al-Numan, We ran away from the rockets, barrels and explosive shells. We are asking for god's mercy and the United Nations to see what happened to us because of Bashar and Russian army. They are killing us." VARIOUS OF TRUCKS AND CARS CARRYING PERSONAL ITEMS
- Embargoed: 7th January 2020 16:48
- Keywords: Displaced citizens Hundreds flee Syrian city Maarat al-Numan as army intensifies battles on Idlib Idlib Syria Syria-turkey border
- Location: NEAR BAB AL-HAWA (SYRIAN-TURKEY BORDER), SYRIA
- City: NEAR BAB AL-HAWA (SYRIAN-TURKEY BORDER), SYRIA
- Country: Syria
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA001BBC50ZR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Hundreds of civilians fled the city of Maarat al-Numan, as well as other towns in the rebel-held Idlib province on Tuesday (December 24) as the Syrian army intensified its offensive this week.
Cars and trucks loaded with personal items headed north to the Syria-Turkey border crossing of Bab al-Hawa to escape an aerial bombing campaign.
Russian-backed Syrian troops surrounded a Turkish observation post as they approached Maarat al-Numan in an offensive which targeted a significant rebel pocket of the province, sources from both sides said on Tuesday.
It is the first major bout of fighting since Turkey, Russia and Iran agreed in September to "de-escalate" conflict in Idlib after a months-long campaign that forced at least 500,000 civilians to flee. With diplomacy on a peace settlement stalled, the de-escalation deal has been unravelling of late.
Insurgents controlling the Idlib region bordering Turkey include the powerful Islamist militant group Tahrir al-Sham, as well as Turkish-backed rebel factions.
As government forces have charged into the southeast of Idlib over the past two weeks, thousands of people have fled Maarat al-Numan. The city has been a refuge for families who fled other areas of Syria recaptured by Damascus earlier during the civil war.
A Russian-led aerial bombing campaign has killed scores of civilians and sparked an exodus of at least 80,000 people in all of Idlib province, the United Nations said on Monday.
(Production: Mahmoud Hassano, Kinda Makieh)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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