Civilians living in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, fearing a possible assault by the Assad regime and its allies, are looking to Turkey to ensure the region’s safety.
Idlib residents are urging Turkey to increase the number of observation points in the area with a view to protecting civilians from an attack they believe is imminent.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Tuesday, Idlib resident Abdurrahman -- who declined to give his last name due to security concerns -- said a major attack by the regime would likely prompt a fresh outflux of refugees.
“But I think the opposition in Idlib, which refuses to come to terms with the regime, will be able to repel any such an assault,” he said.
“I hope Turkey gives them adequate support in this regard,” he added.
Ahmad Allush, another civilian resident of Idlib, said a major assault by the regime and its allies would prompt a number of refugees to flee to Turkey.
“The situation is serious. There are people in the region who refuse to reconcile with the regime,” he said.
“I hope Turkey will help Idlib become a city of peace and safety devoid of armed conflicts,” he added.
Saed Saed, another local resident, said the opposition would be forced to retaliate in the event that regime forces struck Idlib.
“I don't think the regime will strike the region because 1,000 fighters are waiting for them,” he said.
“Still, I hope Turkey will set up new observation posts with a view to ending the bombardment of northern Hama and assist local civilian councils by entering the region as happened in Afrin and Jarabulus,” he added.
Ali Hajji, who recently fled northern Hama and took sanctuary in Idlib, stressed the region’s strategic importance to Turkey.
“If the regime manages to capture Idlib, the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, Afrin and Jarabulus, it will hand them over to the PKK terrorist group,” he said, urging Turkey to set up more observation posts to prevent any such eventuality.
Located near the Turkish border, Idlib is home to more than three million Syrians, many of whom fled from other cities following earlier attacks by regime forces.
In May, Idlib was designated a “de-escalation zone” -- in which acts of aggression are expressly forbidden -- as part of ongoing peace talks in Kazakh capital Astana.
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