The Current

Syria's Idlib province on edge despite leaders pushing toward resolution

As the northern province of Idlib prepares for a Syrian government assault, talks between Iran, Russia and Turkey have resulted in a joint statement to come to a resolution. But citizens of the rebel-held province continue to live in fear.

Journalist says people feel their lives are worthless and no one will save them

A man looks at an opening from a makeshift shelter in an underground cave in Idlib, Syria, Sept. 3, 2018 (Khalil Ashawi/Reuters)

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A joint statement by made Friday by Russia, Iran and Turkey confirms the three leaders will consider a resolution to the dire situation in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province.

But the people living there aren't hopeful that their fate will change and continue to live in fear and resignation, according to a journalist who has recently visited Idlib.

"[They live with] this sort of bitter knowledge that no matter what happens, no matter what lines are crossed, no one is going to come save them — and that their lives are essentially worthless," CNN's Arwa Damon told The Current's guest host Piya Chattopadhyay.

"People go through their days and it's almost as if they're trying their best to ignore the fear that constantly lingers in the back of their minds."

Unicef estimates, an attack on northern Idlib province could displace 450,000 to 700,000 people. (Aaref Watad/AFP/Getty Images)

Damon said many families she met relinquished themselves to the fact they will probably die in the conflict, and felt they could do nothing to protect themselves and their children.

As the ongoing violence has led to overcrowding in camps, Damon predicts that before long there won't be anywhere in Idlib that citizens can go to feel safe.

Idlib's fate rests on key meeting

The fate of the insurgent stronghold in and around Idlib province, where three million people reside, rests in the outcome of the Tehran meeting between the leaders of Assad's supporters — Russia and Iran, and the rebels' ally, Turkey —  coming to a diplomatic solution to resolve the situation.

The joint statement noted the next round round of Syria talks between the three countries' leaders will be held in Russia.

Political science professor Bessma Momani doesn't have a lot of faith this meeting will amount to much.

A boy tries an improvised gas mask in Idlib, Syria, Sept. 3, 2018. (Khalil Ashawi/Reuters)

"This is about a song and dance between the Turks, the Iranians and the Russians to basically sound or look like they really have this large bargaining power amongst themselves to sort of make a decision about the end of Idlib," she told Chattopadhyay

"But make no mistake: all three partners, in my humble opinion, do not see a way out other than the regime eventually taking charge — and that includes Turkey," Momani said.

Listen to the full discussion near the top of this page.

With files from Reuters. Produced by Allie Jaynes and Alison Masemann.


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