The UN reports that fear of the coronavirus pushes thousands of displaced Syrians in the country's northwest to return to their homes after fleeing in recent months.
Fear of coronavirus is pushing tens of thousands of displaced Syrians who in recent months fled the war-torn region of Idlib, in the country's northwest, to return to their homes, even if they have been damaged by the conflict, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in its most recent bulletin on the humanitarian situation in Idlib and the rest of northwest Syria.
A situation of relative calm in the area
On March 5, Russia and Turkey reached an agreement for a military ceasefire in the area of Idlib and Aleppo, and war operations have been suspended since that time.
Apart from a few sporadic incidents, the area has been experiencing a situation of relative calm that has made it possible for tens of thousands of people to return.
These people are fearful of the risk of contracting COVID-19 in areas where nearly four million local residents and displaced people are living crowded together in precarious health and hygiene conditions.
126,000 Syrians have returned to Idlib and Aleppo
The United Nations said that against this backdrop, in recent weeks 126,000 Syrian civilians have returned to the districts of Idlib and Aleppo, which are outside government control and under Turkish influence. Of these, 106,000 returned to the small towns and villages they fled between December and February during the massive Syrian government and Russian offensive.
The UN said another 20,000 civilians returned to refugee camps or temporary accommodations where they had been previously staying. These people aren't originally from Aleppo or Idlib but are internally displaced Syrians from other areas.