UNHCR worried about 165,000 displaced near Syrian town

UNHCR worried about 165,000 displaced near Syrian town

UN refugee agency says it is 'immediately' alerting Turkish authorities of developments in Azaz, northern Syria

GENEVA, Switzerland (AA) - The UNHCR on Saturday expressed acute concern about nearly 165,000 displaced persons massing near a town in northern Syria.

In a written statement, the UN's refugee agency said they are "deeply concerned" about the reported massing of 165,000 people near the town of Azaz, some 32 kilometers (20 miles) northwest of Aleppo.

"People have started to flee due to heavy fighting in northern Aleppo. Fleeing civilians are being caught in the cross-fire and are facing challenges to access medical services, food, water, and safety," the statement said.

The UNHCR added that they are "immediately" alerting Turkish authorities of developments in the town.

The agency called for the "protection of basic rights" and the "physical security of this population based on international humanitarian law, international refugee law, and human rights law as well as safe passage and protection."

The conflict in Syria remains the main driver of the refugee crisis, forcing more than 4.8 million people to become refugees in neighboring countries. Turkey currently shelters the majority of Syrian refugees, some 3 million.

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