UN remains deeply concerned about safety of 4 million civilians in NW Syria

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Soldiers of pro-government militia are pictured in Aleppo, Syria, on Dec. 11, 2016. (Xinhua/Yang Zhen) (zw)
Soldiers of pro-government militia are pictured in Aleppo, Syria, on Dec. 11, 2016. (Xinhua/Yang Zhen) (zw)

A United Nations spokesman said Monday that the organization remains deeply concerned about the safety of over 4 million civilians in northwest Syria.

“The UN remains deeply concerned about the safety of over 4 million civilians in northwest Syria, over half of whom are internally displaced, following reports of ongoing airstrikes and shelling over the weekend,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said at the daily news briefing.

“The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that over 1,500 civilians in the northwest of Syria have been killed since April, when the current military escalations began, including over 430 children and 290 women,” he said.

“Since December 1, an estimated 389,000 people have been displaced. That’s an increase of more than 30,000 since last week. The vast majority, about 80 percent of those people who are being displaced, are women and children,” the spokesman added.

The latest displacement compounds an already dire humanitarian situation on the ground in Idlib, where more than 400,000 people were displaced between the end of April and the end of August, many of them multiple times, added Dujarric.

“We continue to call for a cessation of hostilities and urge all parties, and those with influence over the parties, to ensure the protection of civilians, the protection of civilian infrastructure, and that’s in line with their obligations under international humanitarian law,” he noted. Enditem

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