In Syria’s Idlib province, the dust has hardly settled down after the last month’s spectacular coup of the area by Al-Qaida rebels. However, international organizations have annulled aid and support for schools and hospitals. As a result, 3 million residents of Idlib have started to feel its effect.
Idlib which forms the last pocket of Syria that is not under the control of the President Bashar al Assad. It was exempted from an attack by the regime and Russia after a last moment truce negotiated by Ankara and Moscow. The truce more or less rested on the demilitarization and pullout of the Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) umbrella group of uncompromising fighters from a buffer zone.
Rather than receding, HTS grew edgier and on 10th January announced that it had forced other armed groups in the area for a surrender deal, efficiently fastening its control of the entire province.
Since HTS is regarded as a terrorist organization by majority of the international community, worries over aid financing being sidetracked by the group has directed several crucial donors to slash urgently needed fund to the area.
Idlib as well as rural Aleppo are helped by around 50 medical facilities, where salaries, equipment, and medicine worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have been funded by non-governmental organizations and western governments. Presently, medical staffs in many places are working for free, just like the teachers.
People across Idlib conveyed their fear that an inflamed HTS could activate the regime offensive that was repulsed last September’s ceasefire deal. Last year, aid agencies cautioned that a large-scale attack on Idlib could lead to one of the worst humanitarian crises in Syria’s which is facing eight-year-old war.