2 million refugees could flee to Turkey if violence in north Syria intensifies: report

A Syrian rebel-fighter from the National Liberation Front (NLF) mans a position in the rebel-held al-Rashidin district of western Aleppo's countryside near Idlib province, on October 15, 2018. - Jihadists in Syria's Idlib failed to meet a deadline to leave a planned buffer zone ringing the country's last rebel bastion, casting fresh doubt over a deal to avert bloodshed. (Photo by Aaref WATAD / AFP)

Up to 2 million refugees could flee to Turkey if fighting intensifies in northwestern Syria as aid funds run dangerously low, the United Nations said on Monday, according to Reuters.

Syria’s Russian-backed military has been pressing an assault on rebels in their last major stronghold with air attacks and ground battles that have already forced tens of thousands to leave their homes.

“Our fear is if this continues, and if the numbers continue soaring, and if the conflict intensifies, that we could see really hundreds of thousands, a million, two, heading towards the borders with Turkey,” the UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Panos Moumtzis, said.

The onslaught since late April, focused mostly on southern parts of Idlib province and adjacent parts of Hama and Latakia, marks the most intense conflict between President Bashar al-Assad and his insurgent enemies since last summer.

Moumtzis told Reuters in Geneva the situation was deteriorating and that a deal between Russia and Turkey to deescalate the fighting there was effectively no longer in place.

“We see an offensive that is really targeting — or with an impact on — hospitals and schools in civilian areas, in areas where there is the population and urban areas — which really should not be happening according to international humanitarian law,” Moumtzis said.

Aid organizations have been encouraged to share their locations with the warring parties to avoid being hit. But after repeated air strikes on hospitals, many aid workers distrust such requests, Moumtzis said.

“It’s a catastrophe, what has been happening … for the sake of humanity, there has to be an intervention,” he said.

“A few months ago, we asked to make sure that this nightmare scenario will not take place. Actually, it’s unfolding in front of our own eyes as we speak.”

The UN appealed for $3.3 billion to cover humanitarian work within Syria this year, and despite generous pledges, it has so far received only $500 million, leaving the aid effort surviving “hand-to-mouth,” Moumtzis said.

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  1. So Erdogans decision to create and support those fanatic terrorists: Islamic State, Hts, FSA, Al Qaida and moslim brotherhood bites him now. Those criminals in Idlb are hunted down by Syria and Russia and Erdogan needs to take them in because he promissed them the Turkish citizen ship and nationality. He hoped to use them against Syria and in Kurdistan as human canon meat and to convert the surpressed population into Suni but they just robbed, extorted, raped, murdered and stool overthere and did not die but flee. And now his highness the Sultan is stuck with them, hope they eat him.