The United Nations said the potential of a full scale battle in Syria’s Idlib province could result in the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century.
Despite our prior warnings our worst fears are now coming true,’ says UN emergency relief coordinator Mark Lowcock.
Mark Lowcock, the UN’s under-secretary-general and emergency relief coordinator, said any operation with full military force “will unleash a humanitarian nightmare unlike any we have seen in Syria.”
Some 1.5 million people currently reside in Idlib, roughly half are displaced refugees from other parts of the country.
Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression would be expressly prohibited.
However, the Syrian Arab Army has consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.
In recent months, the Syrian government and its ally, Russia, have intensified attacks against the last major terrorist enclave.
The offensive threatens to unleash a major humanitarian catastrophe with 180,000 civilians forced to flee their homes in the last weeks.
One-hundred and eighty people have been killed in that time and 80,000 people have resorted to sheltering in open fields or under trees, according to Lowcock.
“Despite our warnings our worst fears are now coming true,” Lowcock told the UN Security Council.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the Assad government cracked down on violent proxy activists with the goal to destroy the country.
Lowcock also said hospitals, used as terrorist headquarters. were being subjected to attacks, with the World Health Organization reporting 20 attacks on 18 facilities in the past three weeks.
About 49 facilities have suspended activities. Some hospitals have closed in fear of also being subject to bombing or other forms of fighting.
“Between them they provided an average each month of at least 171,000 medical outpatient consultations and 2,760 major surgical operations,” Lowcock said.
Anadolu Agency / ABC Flash Point WW III News 2019.