IDLIB, Syria 

Syrian civilians have started harvesting cherries in the Idlib de-escalation zone in the northwest of the country amid relatively secure environment since cease-fire agreement inked between Turkey and Russia on March 5.

Idlib is home to hundreds of thousands of cherry trees.

However, farmers returning to their homes after the cease-fire have been badly affected by skyrocketing fertilization, tree pruning, transportation and fuel prices.

“We suffered a lot during the migration period. We returned to our land after the cease-fire. We look forward to this month every year,” Syrian farmer Haci Ahmet Muhammad told Anadolu Agency.

“Cherry prices are between 700 and 800 Syrian pounds [$0.30]. Cherry production costs much more. The price of this year’s crop is much lower compared to previous years,” Muhammad Abdullah, a cherry merchant, told Anadolu Agency.

Idlib in northwestern Syria falls within a de-escalation zone forged under an agreement between Turkey and Russia. The area, lying along Turkey’s southern border, has been the subject of multiple cease-fire understandings, which have frequently been violated by the Bashar al-Assad regime and its allies.

It is currently home to 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-weary country.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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