The Assad regime's offensive against one of the last opposition enclaves in the country is having a devastating impact on civilians forced by war and conflict to relocate within Syria.

Some two million people now live in Idlib. January 18, 2018.
Some two million people now live in Idlib. January 18, 2018. (Reuters)

Rapid advances by Syrian forces into the opposition's largest remaining stronghold, Idlib province, have brought it closer to a key insurgent-held military airport and displaced tens of thousands of people struggling to find shelter in winter weather.

Supported by Iran-backed militias and Russian air power, regime leader Bashar al Assad's forces have taken territory in northeastern Hama and southern Idlib provinces since beginning an offensive in late October.

The fighting and air strikes have forced more than 60,000 people to leave their homes since November 1, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

TRT World's Anelise Borges reports on the impact ramped up strikes are having on civilians. 

Mounting pressure

Over the course of the last week, dozens of civilians have been killed in Idlib as Russian and regime warplanes target residential areas and refugee camps.

Notably, Idlib falls within a network of de-escalation zones — endorsed by Turkey, Russia and Iran — in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Controlled largely by armed anti-regime groups, Idlib has remained the target of intense air strikes for the last two months. In January alone, 211 civilians were killed and another 1,447 injured.

Syria remains locked in a devastating conflict that began in 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrations.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies