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In the news: Idlib’s worsening warzone

Aid agencies are already talking of a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’.

Syrian boys ride on a truck with belongings.
Displaced Syrian boys ride on a truck with belongings in northern Idlib, Syria January 30, 2020. (Khalil Ashawi/Reuters)

Half a million people are on the move in northwestern Syria, the front line is closing on the regional capital, the border is sealed to people trying to flee, and health services are collapsing.

Eight aid agencies say Syria’s Idlib warzone is already a winter “humanitarian catastrophe”, as options shrink for temporary accomodation and camps are overflowing.

As TNH reported last month, civilians are dismantling their own homes to deny looters property they expect never to see again.

Decisions made by Turkey will be key in the coming days and weeks: Turkish forces were directly involved in recent fighting around Saraqeb, exchanging fire with Syrian government forces, according to Turkish media.

Russia says “terrorist” rebels are mounting an “aggressive” campaign. However the Syrian forces, backed by Russian air power, show little sign of slowing their offensive despite calls for restraint from the EU, the UN, and the United States.

Ben Parker

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