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UN humanitarian chief warns of "deadly" conflict escalation in northwest Syria
May 20,2019   By:Xinhua
UNITED NATIONS, May 20,2019-- UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock on Friday warned that the recent intensification of hostilities in Syria is unleashing a humanitarian nightmare.
 
Updating the UN Security Council on the situation in northwest Syria, Lowcock said the last three weeks have seen "a deadly escalation of the conflict." "Despite our warnings, our worst fears are now coming true."
 
According to Lowcock, the United Nations estimated that 3 million people live in the area of the de-escalation zone in the northwest of the country.
 
Even before the recent escalation, these were among the most vulnerable people in Syria, particularly the million children, and the 1.3 million people who have fled to Idlib from other parts of the country, he added.
 
Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in Syria, is controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the umbrella group of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.
 
Since mid-April, there has been an intensification of hostilities in Idlib, which is one of the four "de-escalation" areas agreed by the Astana guarantors -- Russia, Iran and Turkey -- in 2017.
 
In the last three weeks UN reports showed that up to 160 people have been killed. At least 180,000 people have been displaced, and millions of people are crammed into an ever smaller area, said Lowcock.
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