Idlib is a city in northwestern Syria, capital of the Idlib Governorate, 59 kilometers southwest of Aleppo. It has an elevation of nearly 500 meters above sea level. In the 2004 census by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Idlib had a population of 98’791 and in 2010 the population was around 165’000. Before the war, the inhabitants were mostly Sunni Muslims, although there was a significant Christian minority. Idlib is divided into six main districts: Ashrafiyeh (the most populous), Hittin, Hejaz, Downtown, Hurriya, and al-Qusur.
A major agricultural center of Syria, the Idlib area is also historically significant, containing many “dead cities” and man-made tells. Idlib contains the ancient city of Ebla, once the capital of a powerful kingdom. The ancient kingdoms of Nuhašše and Luhuti flourished in the Governorate during the Bronze and Iron ages.