Escalating violence in northwest Syria has caused more than 200,000 displacements since mid-December, the United Nations said on Tuesday. Assad regime forces and Iranian militias, backed by close Russian aerial over, have stepped up bombardment on Idlib and Hama provinces in recent weeks in an attempt to advance on the liberated areas.
In a new situation report published Tuesday, the UN’s humanitarian coordination branch (OCHA) said it had recorded 212,140 instances of displacement between December 15 and January 16.
In a first, OCHA said, around 6,700 families fled rebel-held areas of Hama province to nearby regime-controlled territory. Idlib and slivers of the neighboring provinces are home to around 2.5 million people, including 1.1 million who are internally displaced, according to the UN.
The largest displacement — 58,338 people — was to the village of Dana in Idlib province, but other waves of civilians fled to areas in the adjacent provinces of Aleppo and Hama, OCHA added.
OCHA said it had received reports of several health clinics in the area being rendered out of service in bombardment by the Assad regime and Russian air forces. Other facilities, it warned, were “running low” on medical supplies.
“Facilities are strained due to the increasing caseload because of the recent displacement,” the situation report said.
“The low winter temperatures and the lack of shelter is exacerbating the health situation of the IDPs (internally displaced people) causing winter-related illnesses. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Al Jazeera)