AMMAN (Reuters) – Around 350,000 Syrians, mostly women and children, have been displaced since the beginning of December by another Russian-backed offensive in the opposition-held province of Idlib and sought protection in border areas near Turkey, the United Nations said Thursday.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest situation report that the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate as a result of “escalating” hostilities.
Russian jets and Syrian artillery have hit towns and villages in a renewed attack in recent weeks, supported by pro-Iranian militias aimed at clearing up the opposition.
“This recent wave of displacement exacerbates an already catastrophic humanitarian situation in Idlib,” David Swanson, regional spokesman for Syria in Amman, told Reuters.
Russian and Syrian jets resumed bombing of civilian areas in the opposition enclave two days after the official ceasefire between Turkey and Russia on Sunday.
US officials said earlier this month that the humanitarian crisis had worsened with thousands of civilians fleeing Idlib province, along with nearly 400,000 people who fled to security camps near the Turkish border from previous struggles were.
The recent offensive has brought the Russian-led military campaign closer to the densely populated parts of the Idlib province, which, according to the United Nations, has trapped almost 3 million people.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; editing by Toby Chopra)