Syrian Civilians Forced To Head To M5 International Road
Syria’s M5 Highway is becoming the new road of hope for close to 1 million new Syrian inhabitants that have had to leave their home and move elsewhere to avoid the new airstrikes by Russia and Assad led forces. Both are determined to reclaim Idlib province, the last so called strong hold of the rebel forces. While the rebels and religious militia seem to be have deserted the place already, Assad that is supported by Moscow continues to air-raid the place, making it impossible for civil life to exist.
The M5 is a strategic ‘international road’ that connects to Turkey. It threads all of Syria’s major cities and six provinces together. Stretching along a 450km (280 miles) stretch, it acts as an artery that joins the political capital of Damascus to the economic centre of Aleppo. It stretches as far as Turkey in the north. On its south side is the Jordanian border, which then links Syria to the Gulf states.
Currently, the road is thronging with civilians on foot and in vehicles, looking for space to stay and feel safe. However, it has been reported that the Assad regime has other plans as well. They also plan to retake full control of the M4 and M5 highways.
Syrian and Russian airstrikes on hospitals, markets and bakeries have killed 300 civilians and emptied towns of residents since first week of January. This pushed millions to seek refuge in camps in sub normal temperatures. Over the weeks following, ground troops continued to surge forward, capturing dozens of deserted towns and villages.
The M5 is also an essential route for the movement of wheat and cotton, carrying an estimated $25m in goods and commodities every day before the war broke out in 2011.