DAMASCUS (Dispatches) – Thousands of civilians returned to their homes in the countryside of Hama and Idlib provinces on Sunday through a crossing set up by the Syrian army, state news agency SANA reported.
The civilians crossed to their homes in the southern countryside of the northwestern province of Idlib and the adjacent northern countryside of Hama province in central Syria through the Souran crossing in northern Hama, SANA reported.
The return of displaced civilians comes after the Syrian army secured their areas and removed mines left by the terrorists ahead of their defeat, SANA said.
The al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front prevented civilians for the second straight day from leaving areas in Idlib through the Abu al-Duhur crossing.
SANA said that the terrorists fired on civilian cars attempting to leave the area.
Late last month, the Syrian army agreed to observe a cease-fire in Idlib, the last major terrorist stronghold in the country.
Large parts of the northwestern province of Idlib and parts of neighboring Hama constitute the last major militant stronghold in Syria.
Late last month, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria announced a unilateral ceasefire by government forces in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
On August 5, the Syrian army declared in a statement the start of an offensive against foreign-sponsored militants in Idlib after those positioned in the de-escalation zone failed to honor a ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey and continued to target civilian neighborhoods.
The Syrian government troops, backed by Russian warplanes, have been regaining control of further areas once held by militants.
The Russian military assistance began in September 2015 at the official request of the Syrian government.