BFF-35 UN warns of ‘bloodbath’ risk in northwest Syria

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UN warns of ‘bloodbath’ risk in northwest Syria

GENEVA, Feb 24, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Fighting in northwest Syria is coming
“dangerously close” to encampments with around a million displaced people,
risking an imminent “bloodbath”, the UN said on Monday.

Mark Cutts, the UN’s Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the
Syria Crisis, also said the UN was trying to double aid deliveries across a
border crossing from Turkey from 50 to 100 trucks a day.

“The fighting is now coming dangerously close to an area where more than a
million are living in tents and makeshift shelters,” Cutts told reporters in
Geneva.

Cutts warned there was a risk of “a real bloodbath”.

A months-long offensive by Russia-backed Syrian troops against rebels
backed by Turkey in northwest Idlib has seen hundreds of thousands of people
flee the violence.

As a result of the escalation, Cutts said the UN was revising up its
funding appeal for the crisis from $330 million to $500 million (462 million
euros), adding that there was a shortfall of about $370 million.

The UN sent 1,200 aid trucks into the area in January and has dispatched
700 more so far in February, Cutts said.

“The reality is it is simply not enough. We’re barely able to meet the
needs of the people for the most urgent food rations and tents and blankets
and winter items,” he said.

Cutts also said aid workers were “overwhelmed”, some warehouses had been
looted and the fighting had damaged some 77 hospitals and other medical
facilities.

BSS/AFP/BZC/2050HRS