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More than 235,000 flee northwest Syria flare-up, UN says

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More than 235,000 people have fled the Idlib region in northwest Syria over the past two weeks, the UN said on Dec. 27, amid heightened regime and Russian attacks on Syria’s last major opposition bastion, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

The mass displacement of Dec. 12-25 has left the violence-plagued Maaret al-Numan region in southern Idlib “almost empty,” the UN said in a statement.

Since mid-December, Russian-backed regime forces have pressed forward with an assault on jihadists in southern Idlib despite an August ceasefire deal and calls for a de-escalation from Turkey, France and the UN.

The increased airstrikes came as Russian-backed regime forces advanced on the ground.

The war in Syria has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it began with anti-government demonstrations brutally crushed by security forces in 2011.

Turkey hosts more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees, for which it receives financial aid from the European Union under a migrant deal struck in March 2016.

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