Dozens of civilians have returned to their homes in the southern Idlib countryside and the northern Hama countryside since the announcement of the Russian-Turkish deconfliction agreement, the Syrian new outlet Enab Baladi reported on September 21.
A day earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) estimated that more than 20,000 internally displaced civilians had returned to their villages and towns near the frontlines with the government-held areas. These civilians left their homes out of fear of an expected battle between radical armed groups and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
Under the Russian-Turkish agreement, which was reached on September 17, a 15 to 20km deep demilitarized area will be established around Idlib. Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated that all weapons have to be withdrawn from the zone by October 10 and radical groups have to withdraw their forces from there by October 15.
The return of the displaced civilians demonstrates the important of the Russian-Turkish agreement, which prevented a battle that may have caused a new wave of refugees.