OCHA: More than 30,000 displaced in Idlib

Orient Net 2018-09-11 07:54:00

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More than 30,000 people have so far fled their homes in northwest Syria since Assad regime and its allies resumed air and ground bombardments there last week, the UN agency coordinating relief efforts said on Monday (Sep. 10), Reuters reported.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said an all-out military assault on the last major stronghold of active opposition to Bashar al-Assad could set 800,000 people to flight. The OCHA chief, Mark Lowcock, warned that this risked provoking the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st Century.

OCHA spokesman David Swanson told Reuters that as of Sunday, 30,542 people had been displaced from northwest Syria, moving to different areas across Idlib.

About 2.9 million people live in the opposition-held area, which comprises most of Idlib province and adjacent small parts of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo provinces. Around half of them are already displaced from other parts of Syria.

 “We are very actively preparing for the possibility that civilians move in huge numbers in multiple directions,” OCHA head Lowcock told a news briefing in Geneva.

“There needs to be ways of dealing with this problem that don’t turn the next few months in Idlib into the worst humanitarian catastrophe with the biggest loss of life of the 21st Century,” he said.

Swanson said that since Friday’s summit, mortar and rocket attacks had increased, especially in the northern Hama countryside and Idlib southern countryside.