UN concerned about fate of 40,000 displaced Syrians

United Nations indicates deep concern about at least 40,000 displaced Syrians who have escaped from Aleppo due to ongoing Syrian regime attacks on opposition controlled areas despite truce

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Syrians fleeing the northern embattled city of Aleppo wait on February 5, 2016 in Bab-Al Salama, next to the city of Azaz, northern Syria.

The United Nations said on Wednesday it was deeply worried about the fate of more than 40,000 displaced Syrians who have fled ongoing deadly attacks by the Assad regime on the opposition-held northern city of Aleppo.

The UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said more than 40,000 Syrians in camps, residential areas and settlements have been displaced due to fighting in recent days despite the cessation deal.

Most of them are in Azaz town which has a strategically vital border with Turkey, as well as the Bab al-Salam and Sijjou camps.

"Taking into account the previous influx of over 75,000 internally displaced people into the Azaz sub-district in January and February, humanitarian needs are expected to rise exponentially," it said.

Syrians fleeing the northern embattled city of Aleppo wait in a field in the town of Iqda, next to the city of Azaz in northern Syria, on February 5, 2016. (AFP)

Following the Russian backed regime attacks, opposition forces lost control of a key supply route - the so-called Azaz corridor in northern Aleppo. This situation has made it difficult for humanitarian aid to reach civilians who live around Aleppo.

"We are extremely concerned at the intensification of fighting in northern Syria and its impact on civilians, as well as humanitarian delivery to the area, and continue to monitor the situation closely," OCHA said.

Riad Hijab, chief coordinator of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), told a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday, 

"The regime and its allies are working on seizing Aleppo, which means seizing 650,000 citizens. The regime and Russians are using all kinds of weapons." 

The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontiers stated more than 100,000 people were in trouble on the Syrian side of the Turkish border and 35,000 Syrians fled in the last week from camps that had become too close to the point of conflict.

"Yet again we see tens of thousands of people forced to flee but with almost nowhere safe to go - trapped in this bloody, brutal conflict," said Muskilda Zancada, MSF's mission chief in Syria in a statement.

A man carries a child on his shoulders as Syrians fleeing the northern embattled city of Aleppo wait on February 5, 2016 in northern Syria. (AFP)

Turkey has long supported a safe zone in northern Syria to preserve displaced people and allow the passage of humanitarian aid, however, the idea has gained little global support.

The UN estimates the death toll in Syria since the start of the war to be at least 250,000. But the Syrian Centre for Policy Research released a report on February 10 stating that the death toll has now exceeded 470,000.

Around 5 million Syrians have taken refuge in neighbouring countries.

Residents of border areas in Turkey - which hosts the largest population of Syrian refugees, nearly 3 million, on its soil - fear of being overwhelmed by a fresh wave of arrivals.

TRTWorld and agencies