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UN: 800,000 displaced in Idlib offensive

February 14, 2020 at 12:58 pm

A drone photo shows tents amid mud at a refugee camp, which provides living space for Syrians those who escape from the war or displaced by the attacks of Assad Regime and Russia, as refugees leave their home to reach the Turkish border on December 30, 2019 in Idlib, Syria. [Mehmet Burak Karacaoğlu/Anadolu Agency]

Over 140,000 Syrians have been displaced in just three days under the government’s offensive against opposition-held areas in the north-west of the country.

The United Nations said yesterday that 800,000 people have now been displaced, with at least 60 per cent of these children, a figure that looks set to rise.

Syria’s government, backed by Russia, has launched an offensive on Idlib province and southern and western Aleppo. Many of the three million people in Idlib have already been displaced by the war from other parts of the country.

David Swanson, UN regional spokesperson for the crisis in Syria, said: “The level of displacement couldn’t come at a worse time as more and more people are squeezed into an increasingly smaller area of land with little more than the clothes on their back.”

The crisis is deepening by the minute but the international community remains indifferent.

Syria’s war has now entered its ninth year and is undergoing yet another escalation as the government seeks control over the M5 highway which runs through Aleppo and Idlib provinces.

Ex-UK FM: Idlib is ‘Gaza in Syria’

In 2018 Russia and Turkey agreed to a demilitarised zone in Idlib to protect refugees and prevent the flow of refugees north to Turkey, but Russian-backed Syrian forces have regularly violated this and other ceasefire agreements.

These 800,000 people have headed to the camps on the border with Turkey, which is now sealed.

Aid workers have said that the one million Syrian refugees living near the border live in overcrowded, inhuman conditions, compounded by the freezing weather.

Last year aid workers warned Idlib could become the worst humanitarian crisis yet in Syria’s civil war.

Idlib could be the greatest international failure in human history, says Turkish official