United Nations warns 30,000 already displaced from Syria's Idlib

Pauline Gross
September 14, 2018

Russia's Defense Ministry has said that a fake chemical attack on civilians has been filmed in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.

In late August, de Mistura warned of a "perfect storm" facing Idlib amid the suspected strikes by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Russian-backed government forces to clear militants from the al-Qaida and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham - also known as the al-Nusra Front - militant groups from the area.

It is home to some three million people - around half of them displaced from other parts of the country, according to the United Nations.

An AFP correspondent in Idlib has seen dozens of displaced families head towards the frontier in recent days to escape bombing elsewhere.

About 30,000 people already live in a Turkish Red Crescent-run camp on the Idlib side of the border.

The footage was filmed by several Middle Eastern news channel crews and one unnamed USA broadcaster, the Defense Ministry said.

"We go wherever it's safe", said the man in his 30s.

United Nations office spokesman David Swanson says that as of September 9, 30,542 people have been displaced from northwest Syria, moving to different areas across Idlib. Between 700 and 1,200 of those killed by Russian Federation died during the brutal campaign to reclaim eastern Ghouta earlier this year, according to the non-profit Air Wars, a campaign that also saw the Syrian regime use chemical weapons in the town of Douma.

"Russia, Iran and Assad are demolishing Idlib and asking us to call it peace", she said.

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A full-scale regime assault on Syria's last opposition and rebel-held province of Idlib would sabotage the ongoing political process, Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said after a cabinet meeting chaired by President Erdogan.

Meanwhile the bombs keep falling.

The Syrian government committed war crimes by using chlorine in three attacks against civilians in 2018, United Nations investigators said in a report released Wednesday.

Humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said the regime's planned assault on Idlib would likely lead to huge numbers of civilian deaths, and perhaps the biggest loss of life this century.

Erdogan acknowledged that groups like HTS "remain active in this area" but insisted that such fighters "account for a fraction of Idlib s population".

The escalating bombardment has already damaged civilian infrastructure.

It also said that an Islamist group was provided with two canisters of a "chlorine-based chemical" for the goal of the operation.

Moscow wants to keep rebels from using weaponised drones against Russian warplanes positioned nearby.

Turkey, fearing an influx of refugees in the event of a major assault, has repeatedly warned against a "massacre" in this last stronghold of the Syrian opposition.

Other reports by GizPress

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