UN: Escalated bombing in Syria displaces 140,000

Orient Net 2019-05-02 09:23:00

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Escalated bombing in northwestern Syria has displaced nearly 140,000 people since February, the UN said on Wednesday (May 1), as the Assad regime and its ally Russia have stepped up their bombardment, AFP reported.

"Since February, over 138,500 women, children and men have been displaced from northern Hama and southern Idlib," said David Swanson of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA.

"Between 1 and 28 April, its estimated more than 32,500 individuals have moved to different communities in Aleppo, Idlib and Hama governorates," he told AFP.

Idlib has been protected from a massive regime offensive by a September deal inked by Russia and Turkey.

But the region of some three million people has come under increasing bombardment since January.

The escalation has killed more than 200 civilians since February, the UN said last week.

A new wave of shelling and airstrikes this week targeted schools and medical centres, according to Swanson.

"The UN is deeply concerned over the recent escalation," he said.

The attacks targeted parts of Hama and southern Idlib, including the village of al-Qasabiyah.

"The majority of the Al-Qasabiyah village residents reportedly displaced to safer villages due to hostilities in the area," Swanson said.

AFP correspondents saw intense bombardment of Al-Qasabiyah Wednesday, with bombs dropped by warplanes sending huge plumes of grey smoke billowing into the sky.

The United States on Tuesday urged Russia to abide by its commitments and stop an "escalation" in Idlib.

"The violence must end," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

Vehicles loaded with mattresses, carpets and even household appliances like refrigerators and washing machines could be seen leaving villages in southern Idlib.