The fighting in the last Syrian rebel region of Idlib has forced tens of thousands of people to flee, according to activists and representatives of the opposition. Many of them are already refugees from other regions.
Tens of thousands of people are fleeing the Syrian government forces offensive and the escalation of violence in the last major rebel area in Syria, Idlib. Residents, human rights organizations and opposition representatives reported 60,000 to 70,000 people moving to the north in recent days. Most of them would leave the city of Maarat al-Numan, which until now had been a refuge for many displaced people from other regions.
The humanitarian situation is said to be dramatic. People sleep in vehicles or spend the night in open fields.
In addition, a hospital was hit in the region during air strikes. This was reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights based in Syria and the activist group Thika. Accordingly, the hospital was evacuated before the attacks.
Turkey is closing the border
In total, around three million people live in the rebel area. About half of them have already been expelled from other parts of Syria. The neighboring country Turkey has closed the border for fear of a new influx of refugees.
The Syrian army, supported by the Russian allies, has been trying to conquer the city of Chan Sheikhun for days. On Tuesday, Russian and Syrian fighter aircraft intensified their attacks around nearby Maarat al-Numan. The rebels have admitted that many of them have left the region. But the remaining hunters resist bitterly, as the state media reported.