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May 26, 2020
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Fighting in Idlib displaced 140,000 people: UN

United Nations Officer for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that fighting in northwestern Syria has displaced nearly 140,000 people since February.

Syrian army supported by Russia has stepped up their bombardment in Hama and Idlib recent days.

“Since February, over 138,500 women, children and men have been displaced from northern Hama and southern Idlib,” OCHA said.

An official of OCHA David Swanson said that between 1 and 28 April, its estimated more than 32,500 individuals have moved to different communities in Aleppo, Idlib and Hama governorates.

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

But the region of some three million people has come under increasing bombardment since former the jihadist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group took full control of it in 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.

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

“The barrel bombing is the worst we have seen for at least 15 months,” Panos Moumtzis, the UN’s regional humanitarian coordinator said.

“We have information that educational facilities, health facilities and residential areas are being bombed by helicopters and planes,” Moumtzis added.