Hundreds of thousands civilians flee in Syrian rebel region

Hundreds of thousands civilians flee in Syrian rebel region
Displaced civilians are said to be in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: More than 235,000 people have fled their homes in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province between 12 and 15 December, the UN says.

The exodus happened as government forces step up their offensive on the area and fighting gets intensified.

Idlib is the last major region held by the rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian government has been bombing Idlib since last November.

UN humanitarian agency Ocha said in a report that as airstrikes and ground fighting increased since mid-December, the civilian displacement got a boost.

The tens of thousands of displaced families have been heading north in trucks and private cars.

The government offensive had left Maarat al-Numan city and the nearby region in southern Idlib ‘almost empty’, Ocha said.

The UN said, ‘Many who fled are in urgent need of humanitarian support, particularly shelter, food, health, non-food and winterisation assistance’. ‘Thousands of more families were frightened to move, fearing the risk of airstrikes and shelling along the routes’, the report adds.

The fleeing people also have been hampered by fuel shortages, and some drivers don’t want to risk their lives being bombed as they drive.

On Thursday US President Donald Trump urged Russia, Syria and Iran to stop the violence in Idlib.