Syrian civilians flee from Idlib in rain toward the north to find safety inside Syria near the border with Turkey, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. Syrian troops are waging an offensive in the last rebel stronghold according to news reports by a Turkish news agency.( AP Photo)

MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria Oleg Zhuravlev debunked reports of hundreds of thousands Idlib residents seeking to flee the province over clashes between the Syrian government forces and the terrorists in the area.

“Reports of alleged flow of hundreds of thousands of civilians, gravitating towards the Syrian-Turkish border over fights between the terrorists and the government forces in the eastern part of the province, are false,” Zhuravlev said.

According to the Center head, “there are no verifiable photo or video materials or any other evidence supporting claims of movement of allegedly almost one million civilians towards the Syrian-Turkish border from Idlib de-escalation zone.”

Zhuravlev also underscored that Russia calls on Turkey to provide civilians an exit from Idlib to areas under Syrian government control. He noted that the terrorists, who use civilians as human shield, block their exit through humanitarian corridors to checkpoints in Aleppo, Idlib and Hama provinces, set up by the Syrian authorities and the Reconciliation Center.

“The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria calls on the Turkish side to take all necessary measures to provide an option of a voluntary and safe exit for residents of eastern and southern regions of the Idlib province through open checkpoints to areas under Syrian government control,” he stated.

On Thursday, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi urged Turkey and other nations neighboring Syria to expand admission of refugees over the Idlib escalation. According to Grandi, the recent fights have displaced more than 900,000 Syrians.

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