Dozens Killed in Russian and Syrian Gov't Bombing in Idlib Province

Lester Mason
Июня 13, 2018

This is "the highest displacement number since the conflict started", Mr. Moumtzis said, adding that eight in 10 people had come from Rural Damascus and Afrin in the north, while others had been displaced within Idlib governorate itself.

"We can not see a military solution, it can not take place", he said.

Most of Idlib province is held by an array of Islamist and jihadist groups with only parts controlled by the Russian-backed government.

The U.N. regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria cited reports of a deadly air strike on Sunday that had killed 11 people and hit a pediatric hospital.

Idlib, which lies on the border with Turkey, has seen its population balloon to around 2 million people in recent years as fighters and civilians evacuated from other opposition areas are dumped there.

The White Helmets say at least 16 more people were killed by Syrian government airstrikes over the weekend. "Our worry is that with the Idlib situation we may have not [yet] seen the worst in Syria".

He said the world must "make sure that we don't see a similar scenario as we saw in Eastern Ghouta", which was recaptured in April by the Syrian government after a blistering two-month offensive.

"We are on high alert", he said.

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"Really, this is the last location".

Syrian forces later moved to liberate other militant-held areas in the provinces of Homs and Hama.

At the same time, the mishmash of armed groups in the province are increasingly fighting amongst themselves.

"We are alarmed by the renewed escalation of hostilities and hope that the guarantors will redouble their efforts to avoid seeing a scenario like that of East Gutta or Aleppo again, ' the United Nations coordinator stated, because after evacuating the civilians from these two cities to Idlib, 'there is no other location to move them any more", Moumtzis added.

But he said far too few aid convoys were making it through to such areas, with only nine succeeding since January.

"This is the fiercest attack in around three years", Mr Abdel Rahman said, adding that Sunday's deadly air strikes were in response to the extremists' assault.

An aid convoy reached Douma in the enclave of eastern Ghouta outside Damascus on Sunday, but the government did not allow United Nations aid workers to accompany it, he said, saying that direct access was vital.

But Moumtzis voiced deep concern over the lack of funds for the massive aid operation, with only 26 percent of the $3.5 billion needed inside Syria this year materialising to date. "We are stretched to a maximum", he said.

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