The UN is warning an unprecedented bloodbath is looming in northwest Syria without international action to restrain the Assad regime.
Regime forces backed by Russia are advancing into Idlib and now shelling areas where displaced Syrians are camped.
UN Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Mark Cutts, told Sky News that even by this war’s brutal standards, the situation is now desperate.
Image: Idlib is already at the centre of a humanitarian crisis
Image: Trucks carrying the belongings of displaced Syrians in Idlib province
“There are about a million displaced people living in camps and makeshift shelters in that area and if the shelling and airstrikes move any further in that area we’re going to see a bloodbath,” he said.
“We’re going to see a massacre on a scale that has never been seen in this entire war.”
The UN says Idlib is already facing a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions.
It says more than 900,000 people have been forced to flee their homes or camps since the start of December, most of them women and children.
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The challenge is overwhelming aid agencies and their workers.
Mr Cutts had just chaired a meeting of aid workers where the strains were all too visible.
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“I had men and women in this meeting crying. The translator broke down into tears explaining what is going on in the area. They are absolutely desperate,” he said.
In previous crises elsewhere in the world, the UN Security Council has intervened, enforcing a ceasefire.
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But Russia, a UN Security Council permanent member, has used its power to veto action throughout Syria’s civil war.
The Assad regime and its Russian allies seem determined to continue their military advance into Idlib regardless of international condemnation.
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They are squeezing a traumatised and desperate population into a smaller and smaller area that has become a killing zone.
The Syrian conflict may be approaching its end game, but the civilian suffering may not have yet reached its nadir.
Source : Sky News