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UN warns of ‘unprecedented human suffering’ in Syria

Deputy spokesman for the United Nations Secretary General has warned of “unprecedented human suffering” in Syria if the fighting in the north-west of the country continues.

“We have received reports of clashes between Syrian government forces and armed groups, resulting in many civilian casualties. They also caused the displacement of civilians, including reports of fighting in southern Aleppo, mortar shelling in north and east of Idlib and the governorate of Hama,” Farhan Haq told reporters in New York on Wednesday.

“Our humanitarian colleagues are deeply concerned about reports of hostile activities throughout the north-west of the country,” Haq said, explaining that the clashes are taking place in areas believed to be in or near the demilitarised zone.

The UN official warned that there are nearly three million women, children and men in Idlib and surrounding areas who will be at risk if the fighting escalated.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests. Since then, more than 400,000 people have been killed and in excess of 11 million displaced, according to the UN.

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