'When ISIS fighters began to murder opposition activists in Aleppo, Mostafa and his family fled south towards Raqqa.
When Raqqa fell to the jihadists, they fled again, this time to the northern countryside of Aleppo near the border with Turkey.
And when Assad’s forces took control of the countryside in 2015, they fled to Idlib, now the last-remaining rebel stronghold in Syria.
“We’ve been here about three years. Idlib has been a safe place for us,” Mostafa said. “But we always know this day would come. Everyone in Syria knows you can go to another place but the war will follow you.”
For Mostafa and around one million other displaced Syrians, Idlib has been a place of relative safety after being forced to flee their homes.
Families from all over Syria - Aleppo, Ghouta, Daraa, and a dozen other bombed-out cities - converged on the rural northwestern province after their own hometowns were overrun by ISIS or the régime.
Around half of the 2.5 million civilians in Idlib arrived there recently from somewhere else.
But Idlib’s time as a sanctuary looks to be coming to an end. Syrian régime forces are massing on the borders of the province and appear to be preparing for a final assault under the cover of Russian airpower.
“Sometimes I tell people what happened in Ghouta and they shake their heads. I don’t think they believe me,” said Muhammad, a 27-year-old who arrived in Idlib in March after surviving the régime’s five-year siege of Ghouta, a Damascus suburb.
“People don’t know the threat waiting for them because they don’t have the experience I have.”
At the end of previous sieges, the régime would often give rebel fighters and the civilians who support them the option of going to Idlib in return for surrendering. Green buses would ferry the defeated to Idlib, which is largely under the control of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist group once linked to al-Qaeda.
Now there is nowhere left to run. All other rebel-held areas have fallen to Assad’s forces and Turkey has closed its border, saying it cannot take another influx of Syrian refugees. Smugglers can still get people across the border but at a cost of $3,000 (£2,321), far beyond the means of most people.
“Everyone is asking the same hard question: what will you do if the régime comes?” said Ahmad, who came to Idlib after Assad’s forces overran Aleppo in late 2016. “Many people will fight to the death.”
One small source of comfort is the Turkish military presence in Idlib. Turkey’s forces have set up around a dozen military posts and civilians hope they may be able to shelter near them during an attack, believing Assad’s troops won’t risk bombing Turkish soldiers.
Others talk of trying to get out of Idlib to the area around Afrin, which is controlled by the Turkish military and Turkish-backed Syrian rebel forces. The route would be perilous, especially during an assault.
Although few people moved to Idlib by choice, many of its new residents speak happily of their time in the province, living alongside fellow Syrians who cling to the ideals of their almost-defeated revolution.
“I have never been to London but I heard that one street you can hear 100 languages. Here in Idlib, on one street you have people from all 14 governates in Syria,” said Mostafa.
“When you meet somebody from Homs or Deir Ezzor you don’t ask him what happened, you know that he is like you and he lost brothers or children. You don’t ask where they were before because you know it will open old wounds.”
Mostafa said he had lost two brothers during the war, one killed by ISIS and the other by the régime. “We have a saying in Arabic: ‘our pain has made us one family’. It’s true in Idlib.” '