Syria air strikes
Parts of Idlib are dominated by Jihadist groups. Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, recently revealed his plans to send one million refugees back to Syria – despite the UN announcing that only 1.7 per cent of people would choose to return to Syria in 2023.

To encourage the displaced people back to their homeland amid the 12 years of the Civil War, President Erdoğan has signed off on the construction of a further 100 thousand briquette houses in the North of Syria.

Aron Lund, a Syria expert with Century International disagrees with President Erdoğan's plans.

Aron Lund said: "Conditions in northern Syria remain so bad and unstable that large-scale return will be difficult to arrange, despite all these reports about Turkey and Qatar building housing and infrastructure."

The UN has since requested that the cross-border mandate in Syria is extended for at least 12 months. Extending the cross-border mandate would allow the UN and humanitarian organisations to continue providing vital support and resources to the 4.1 million people in North-West Syria.

The earthquakes that devastated parts of Turkey and Syria on 6 February 2023, also caused a massive new displacement for the civilians in North-West Syria.

The earthquakes that devastated parts of Turkey and Syria caused a massive new displacement for the civilians in North-West Syria.

It has been reported that some Syrian non-governmental organisations, who are currently working on the front line in Northern Syria, are 70 to 100 per cent reliant on the contributions of the UN.

Dame Barbara Woodward, the current Permanent Representative of the United Nations, visited the Türkiye-Syria border earlier this month. Speaking of her visit, she revealed: "Frontline humanitarians, the UN, NGOs and local authorities told me consistently and repeatedly they needed more access, for longer of periods of time."

There are currently 4.1 million people in northwest Syria, seeing humanitarian assistance. More than 4,500 deaths have been recorded in northwest Syria, together with a staggering 8,700 people being injured.

As of February 2023, it was recorded that almost one million people (900,000) have fled northwest Syria, seeking refuge in regions further north or in neighbouring counties/overseas.

The current Permanent Representative of the UN called the cross-border mandate extension a "moral and humanitarian imperative" in a UK statement to the Security Council.

Woodward also mentioned that while visiting the Syrian border "60 trucks filled with lifesaving supplies crossed the border on the day of my visit alone".

"Let's be clear, this is not a maximalist approach, this is a humanitarian approach. Secondly, attacks on innocent Syrians must stop and there should be a nationwide ceasefire," Woodward declared.

Russian fighter jets strike regions of Idlib.

On June 25, Russian fighter jets fired an air attack on rebel-held territory in Idlib. Idlib is located in North-West Syria. The Syrian authorities confirmed that the strike killed nine civilians and injured many more.

Speaking of the fatalities in Idlib this week, Woodward said: "This shows a total disregard for the welfare of the Syrian people. We call on all parties to abide by international humanitarian law and to protect the civilian population."

Around 50 per cent of the north-western region of Idlib and other areas bordering Aleppo, is rebel-held territory. This territory is dominated by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). The HTS is a coalition of Syria-based Sunni Islamist insurgent groups that evolved from Jabhat al-Nusrah.

There is evidence that shows Jabhat al-Nusrah having affiliations with the official Al-Qaeda.

The International Crisis Group, recently revealed: "Idlib in north-western Syria remains an operating base for transnational jihadists."

It has also been reported that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), have exploited the gaps of humanitarian aid. These gaps include the military situation in Idlib, insufficient international support and the constant movement of displaced people in and around the region.

"While the group is lying low, using the northwest solely as a place to conceal cadres, any serious disruption could let it resurge," the International Crisis Group warned.