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'Nowhere is safe' in Syria's Idlib, says UN aid chief

'Nowhere is safe' in Syria's Idlib, says UN aid chief
People 'moving into increasingly crowded areas they think will be safer,' says UN official

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) - UN humanitarian affairs chief Mark Lowcock said Wednesday that the conflict in northwest Syria is forcing people to flee "under horrendous conditions."

Many others are on foot or on the backs of trucks in below-freezing temperatures, Lowcock said during a briefing to the UN Security Council on the humanitarian situation in the region.

"They are moving into increasingly crowded areas they think will be safer. But in Idlib, nowhere is safe," said the UN aid chief.

He said nearly 50,000 people are sheltering under trees or in other open spaces. "I am getting daily reports of babies and other young children dying in the cold. Imagine the grief of a parent who escaped a warzone with their child, only to watch that child freeze to death.”

An ongoing offensive in Idlib region has displaced nearly 900,000 civilians since December.

Lowcock reiterated UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' call on Tuesday for an immediate cease-fire and international humanitarian law to be upheld.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib province into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Since then, however, more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces, flouting the 2018 ceasefire and a new one that started on Jan. 12.

The Syrian regime's advances have sent hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing toward the border with Turkey, which already hosts more than 3.7 million refugees.

source: News Feed
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