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Idlib residents relieved at ceasefire

"Idlib

Residents in northwest Syria expressed relief on Saturday (July 3), at the recently imposed ceasefire in the opposition enclave, which comes after a three-month-long Assad-Russian offensive that killed hundreds while yielding no big territorial gains.

More than 400 civilians have been killed in the escalation since late April and more than 440,000 uprooted, the United Nations said last week.

White Helmets volunteers say the death toll has exceeded one thousand people, while thousands were injured.   

Mohammed Zair, a resident in the city of Idlib, said he was grateful that so many people were able to return to their homes before the upcoming Eid Al Adha celebration.

University student, Manaf Daher, said while the ceasefire was ultimately a good thing, he was wary of any political concessions which may be made.

The region is part of the last major piece of territory opposition hold after facing withdrawal from much of Syria at the hands of Assad militias with their Russian and Iranian allies.

Assad state media had said the ceasefire would start on Thursday (August 1) night if militants fulfilled a Russian-Turkish deal which tried last year to create a demilitarized buffer zone.

Turkey-backed opposition officials, who agreed to the ceasefire during talks in Kazakhstan, said it must "guarantee the safety of civilians". They reserved the right to respond to "violations by Assad's regime and its militias".

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