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Civilians hail Turkish deployment in Syria’s Idlib

CIVILIANS HAIL TURKISH DEPLOYMENT IN SYRIA’S IDLIB

Turkish deployment in Syria's northwestern Idlib province near Turkish border is raising high hopes among civilians in the area.

On Monday, the Turkish military said that its troops began reconnaissance activities in Idlib as part of an international agreement to establish de-escalation zones.

The deployment in the northwestern region was launched on Sunday under a deal reached with Russia and Iran during the Syrian peace talks in Kazakhstan's capital Astana.

The establishment of de-escalation zones was agreed in May between Turkey, which backs groups opposed to Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime, and Russia and Iran, who support the regime.

"Our region has a unique location as we are confronted with both separatist PKK and Syrian regime forces," Muhammad Abbas, 45, director of Kinan hospital in west Aleppo's Darat Izza district, said.

"If Turkish Armed Forces enter the region, the conflicts will be contained," he said.

Agit Rasheed, 18, believes that the Turkish deployment will help stop attacks by regime forces in the area.

"For residents, what matters most is that there will be no warplanes flying in the sky," Rasheed said.

"We don't want death and destruction. Unless Turkish Armed Forces intervene, the problems will continue and more deaths will occur," he said.

-LOOKING FOR SAFETY
Cemil Dervish, 48, believes that life will return to normal in Idlib after the Turkish deployment.

"Hospitals and schools will operate regularly and nonfunctional institutions will go back to work once again," he said.

"Turkish Armed Forces will entirely change our life in Idlib. We will be able to live in safety and life will return to normal," he said.

Abbud Hulu, 21, a healthcare worker, said regime attacks in the region would continue unless Turkish Armed Forces troops were deployed.

"PKK has its eye on Sheikh Barakat mountain, which watches the entire Idlib province. We are opposed to PKK movements in Idlib," he said.

Turkey's latest deployment follows the successful Operation Euphrates Shield, which saw the Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish forces, clear Daesh from territory in northern Syria between August 2016 and this March.

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