Thousands Return Home in Northwest Syria After Deal Prevents Offensive

Many fled presumed offensive in Idlib Province

A deal to establish a new buffer zone in Idlib Province, in northwestern Syria aims to preclude a military offensive in the area. Thousands of the civilians who fled the area, anticipating the fighting, are starting to return home.

The UN had estimated 38,000 were displaced from Idlib in recent weeks, and reported that 4,500 have returned home since the deal announced earlier this week. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported as many as 7,000 had returned home.

The displacements were not organized initially, with people just fleeing toward the Turkish border. Turkey, of course, does not let refugees across the border anymore, so the displaced tend to just wait things out on the border.

There was never an announcement that an Idlib offensive was happening, but just the rumors were enough to convince many to flee. The deal appears to preclude that offensive, so now people are coming home.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of