İrem UZUN -TDO- More than 235,000 civilians have fled their homes in opposition-held areas of north-west Syria in the past two weeks, the UN has said, after attacks by Syrian government forces intensified.
The exodus happened between 12 and 25 December as fighting intensified. Idlib in northwestern Syria is the last major region held by rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad. The Russian-backed Syrian government has been bombarding Idlib since late November. An increase in air strikes and ground fighting since mid-December has accelerated civilian displacement from the area, UN humanitarian agency Ocha said in a report. Tens of thousands of families, including some already displaced numerous times during the civil war, have been heading north in trucks and private cars. Most of the displaced civilians are moving to cities and refugee camps in northern areas of Idlib and neighbouring Aleppo province.
Despite a ceasefire announced in August, the bombardment has continued, prompting Turkey this week to press for a fresh ceasefire deal during talks in Moscow. On Tuesday, France called for an "an immediate de-escalation," warning of deteriorating humanitarian conditions.