UN agency alarmed by hostilities in NW Syria, attacks on civilians

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-08 02:37:44|Editor: yan
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GENEVA, June 7 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Friday it is "deeply alarmed" by hostilities in northwestern Syria and near daily reports of civilians coming under attack.

Jens Laerke, the OCHA Geneva spokesperson, said at a UN briefing here that the actions include airstrikes, artillery shelling, and barrel bombs.

"Hostilities have resulted in at least 160 civilian deaths and hundreds more injured. A total of 3 million people, the vast majority of them civilians, and more than 300,000 of them displaced in April and May are in imminent danger," said Laerke.

Since April 28, there have been 25 confirmed attacks on healthcare in the northwest, including 24 health facilities and one ambulance.

Two of the attacked health facilities were hit more than once, and at least six health workers have been killed.

He said that as of May 30, the United Nations has received 36 reports on attacks on schools in the northwest.

Twenty-three of these attacks have been verified in Idleb in the month of May alone.

At the same briefing, Jenifer Fenton, senior public information officer at the UN Envoy for Syria quoted a statement by Najat Rochdi, the envoy's senior adviser as saying, that three million people in Idlib need protection.

"We heard firsthand reporting from our UN colleagues based in the region about the increasingly horrific brutality in recent weeks by all parties involved in the de-escalation area in northwestern Syria."

She said these have "caused significant civilian causalities and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people."

"A humanitarian catastrophe is a grave danger if the violence does not cease. Attacks and fighting are also impacting civilians in government-controlled areas," Fenton said.