Gathering after Friday prayers, residents of different districts of Idlib and western Aleppo marched through the streets holding banners written in English, Turkish and Arabic.
In May, Idlib was designated a “de-escalation zone” — in which acts of aggression are expressly forbidden — as part of the ongoing Astana process.
“Idlib is a microcosm of Syria,” Ahmed Firas Allush, head of Idlib’s opposition-run local council, told Anadolu Agency.
“We have continued to resist here,” he said. “And we will continue to resist to the last drop of blood.”
Allush called on Turkey not to abandon Idlib, Syria’s last major opposition stronghold.
“We would support Turkey’s entrance into the region to take it under its protection,” demonstrator Ahmed Islam told Anadolu Agency.
“Millions will flee if the regime launches an assault,” he said. “It would be a bloodbath.”
“We reject claims that terrorists are in Idlib,” Allush added. “Only civilians and displaced people live here.”
Basel Hawwa, another demonstrator, said the aim of Friday’s rally was to urge the international community to intervene on Idlib’s behalf to prevent a feared regime assault.
“Idlib should come under Turkish control, just like Afrin and Jarabalus,” Hawwa asserted, referring to two other cities in northern Syria where Turkish troops have been deployed.