Some 200,000 displaced Syrians return to Idlib province after Turkish-Russian deal: Ankara

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People walk near heavily damaged buildings in the rebel-held city of Idlib in northwestern Syria on September 16, 2019. - A deal Moscow and Ankara reached last year on Syria's Idlib region was meant to prevent a bloodbath, but bombardment since late April has claimed a mounting death toll. (Photo by Zein Al RIFAI / AFP) (Photo credit should read ZEIN AL RIFAI/AFP/Getty Images)

A total of 204,000 displaced people have returned to the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib since March, when an agreement between Ankara and Moscow was brokered, Turkey’s Directorate of Communications said on Saturday, according to the pro-government Daily Sabah.

Tweeting an infographic on the refugees in the region, the directorate said the current total population of Idlib is 3.1 million.

The directorate also said that due to the Bashar al-Assad government’s latest attacks on the region, 780,000 Syrians remain displaced.

Turkey and Russia, which back opposing sides in Syria’s war, agreed on March 5 to halt military activity in the northwestern Idlib region after an escalation of violence displaced nearly a million people and brought the two sides close to confrontation. The deal addresses Ankara’s main concerns, stopping the flow of refugees and preventing the deaths of more Turkish soldiers on the ground.

As part of the agreement, Turkish and Russian forces have been carrying out joint patrols along the M4 highway linking Syria’s east and west and established a security corridor on either side of it. The first patrols took place on March 15.

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