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Checkpoints for Syrian refugees leaving de-escalation zone resume their work

All road barriers are to be removed by the end of the week

ALEPPO, March 26. /TASS/. Two checkpoints in the Idlib de-escalation zone, Saraqib and Miznas, and the Abu Azedeen crossing in the Aleppo area have resumed their work after being closed by the armed opposition one year ago.

The Russian military, together with Syrian troops and local authorities, created three humanitarian corridors in the Idlib de-escalation zone in early 2020, in a bid to protect the local population from hostilities. The checkpoints stopped their work after militants blocked traffic at those checkpoints, citing strict coronavirus-related quarantine.

"Together with our Russian friends, we are ready to accept refugees, ready to provide first medical assistance to them. We can evacuate them to the city of Aleppo for urgent medical aid there," chairman of the Aleppo healthcare department, Abu Seif al-Nar, has told reporters.

He said that medical stations were organized next to the crossing points. All road barriers are to be removed by the end of the week.

About 2,000 civilians remain in tent camps on the territory of Idlib. It would take one week to evacuate them from the Idlib de-escalation zone. However, none of them have left it so far.

Idlib Governor Muhammed Natuf said all arriving refugees will receive humanitarian aid at checkpoints.

"Apart from deploying ambulance vehicles, we have created several temporary shelters for those people. They had to flee from militants, and went through a lot of suffering. That’s why we will ensure that they get everything they need to start a normal life. Those people have long been dreaming of leaving this area, but militants prevent them from doing so," he said.

Natuf went on to say that the authorities keep in touch with refugees via social networks.

"We know that those people are willing to come here. We know what they need, what kind of aid they require. There are cases of serious diseases. People require immediate hospitalization," the Idlib governor said.

A de-escalation zone was created in northwestern Syria in 2017 for those militants who had refused to lay down arms after the government army’s operations in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus and in the country’s southern regions. Ceasefire has been in effect there since March 6, 2020 following agreements achieved between Russia and Turkey. Pro-Turkish opposition groups and Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia) terrorists have systematically violated the ceasefire by shelling both Syrian army positions and civilian communities.

Earlier, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria sent an offer to Turkey to restore operation of three checkpoints on Syrian territories currently under Turkish control starting on March 25 due to complicated humanitarian situation. The center’s deputy head Counter Admiral Alexander Karpov said reopening the checkpoints would demonstrate the process of peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict.