Escalation in Syria's Idlib displaces nearly 140,000: UN

Fighting in north-western Syria has displaced nearly 140,000 people since February, the UN said on Wednesday (May 1st), as the regime and its ally Russia have stepped up their bombardment.

"Since February, over 138,500 women, children and men have been displaced from northern Hama and southern Idlib," said David Swanson of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

"Between April 1st and April 28th, its estimated more than 32,500 individuals have moved to different communities in Aleppo, Idlib and Hama governorates," he told AFP.

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 Tahrir al-Sham 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.

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