Warnings of humanitarian crisis in Syria as 140,000 children flee Russian-Assad offensive in Idlib

Orient Net 2019-12-28 07:50:00

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The United Nations said 235,000 civilians, including at least 140,000 children, had fled their homes in opposition-held northwestern Syria during a Russian-backed campaign of air strikes and shelling this month and warned of the growing risk of a humanitarian catastrophe along the Turkish border.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the exodus had taken place between Dec. 12 and 25.

Most people had fled the city of Maarat al-Numan, towns and villages in southern Idlib province, Idlib city, and camps along the Syrian-Turkish border, OCHA said.

“With the latest escalation of violence in northwest Syria, civilians in Idlib governorate are again suffering from the devastating consequences of hostilities,” it said.

OCHA said Maarat al-Numan and the surrounding countryside “are reportedly almost empty”.

Thousands of families were also reported to be too frightened to move, fearing air strikes and shelling.

Abu al-Majd Nasser, who fled to the border with his family from the town of Telmanas, told Reuters that Russian President Vladimir Putin “wants to kill every Syrian who opposes the regime”.

Rescue services and witnesses say hostilities have left many towns in ruins and knocked out dozens of medical centers.

US President Donald Trump has spoken out against the “carnage” involving thousands of civilians in Syria.

Russia, Assad regime, and Iranian regime are killing, or on their way to killing, thousands of innocent civilians in Idlib province. Don’t do it! Turkey is working hard to stop this carnage,” Trump said on Twitter on Thursday.

Based on Agencies