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UN: Northwestern Syria continues to feel toll

UN: Northwestern Syria continues to feel toll
Casualties, displacement among civilians continue in northwestern Syria due to hostilities, says UN agency

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) - Hostilities in northwestern Syria, particularly in Idlib and Afrin, continue to cause casualties and displacement among civilians, according to UN officials.

"The situation in Idlib Governorate remains extremely volatile with high levels of hostilities between government [regime] of Syria forces and non-state armed groups being reported," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report on Wednesday.

The OCHA said education activities in Idlib witnessed repeated interruptions due to the ongoing hostilities in the past two months.

"Attacks on health facilities in Idlib Governorate continued with an alarming frequency," it added.

The office said in the northwestern Afrin district, internal displacement from border communities to the central part of Afrin continues, including 15,000-30,000 in recent weeks.

It said local authorities in Afrin reportedly continue to block civilians leaving the district.

"However, it was reported on 06 February that many civilians, who are not originally from Afrin, were allowed to cross to GoS [Syrian regime]-held areas through the Ziyara Afrin crossing," it said.

The OCHA said in Syrian regime-held areas, freedom of movement was made "difficult" due to the confiscation of personal documents.

"Reportedly 10 percent of IDPs [internally displaced persons] do not have personal documentation," it added.

According to the report, family separation is reported due to displacement and conscription inside Afrin, and additional restrictions on freedom of movement targeting adult males.

"Reports indicate that 90% of the IDPs who have arrived in GoS [regime]-controlled areas are women and children," it added.

It also said one child was killed and six people were injured after shelling hit a vehicle carrying civilians in the city of Azaz on Feb. 5 and they were transferred to hospitals in Turkey for treatment.

Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since March 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

While UN officials say hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, regime officials say the death toll is closer to 10,000.

source: News Feed
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