Syria and Turkey Battle for Idlib Province

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Giovanni Sale, SJ

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Nine Years of War in Syria

Nine years have passed since the Syrian conflict began, since the optimism of the 2011 Arab Spring turned into tragedy. For Syria, it all began on March 15 of that year, when protesters took to the streets in Daraa, in the southwest of the country. Soon protests – mostly peaceful – spread throughout the country, demanding an end to the 40-year rule of the Assad family. The state police, as always, reacted violently against unarmed people, and within a few weeks the death toll was in the hundreds. In response, many opponents of the regime organized themselves and took up arms. After nine years of civil war in Syria, 384,000 have died in the conflict.[1]

In addition, according to the UN, the number of displaced persons since the beginning of the conflict is around seven million, and the number of refugees abroad – especially in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and across Europe – is estimated at over five million. To the number of displaced persons should be added the number of people who have been living in camps for several months now in the small province of Idlib, near the Turkish-Syrian border (closed in 2018 due to the intense bombing by the regime and its allies), with the hope of being able to cross the border or be “relocated” to the areas they had abandoned.[2]

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