UN says 120,000 displaced in Syria this month | News | DW | 26.10.2015
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UN says 120,000 displaced in Syria this month

Observers say a Syrian regime offensive backed by Russian airstrikes has displaced 120,000 people this month. Half of Syria's pre-war population of 23 million has been displaced in five years of conflict.

Most of the newly displaced this month are in Aleppo, Hama and Idlib province, the scene of renewed fighting and Russian airstrikes.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday that most of the displaced are still in the three provinces, having fled to surrounding villages, while some have also moved towards the already packed Turkish border.

Most of those who have left their homes are fleeing a new ground offensive combining regime forces, Iranian fighters, Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite militias, backed by Russian airstrikes, against a motley opposition of Western-backed rebel groups, Islamists as well as "Islamic State" positions near Aleppo.

The UN's numbers correspond with those of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which on Monday said some 100,000 people had been displaced this month, mostly due to renewed fighting and Russian airstrikes around Aleppo, Syria's most populous city before the war.

The Syrian National Council (SNC), the main Western-backed political opposition group, said on Monday the Russian airstrikes are now the main cause of civilian casualties.

The SNC's UN representative, Najib Ghadbian, said Monday that Russia is aiding the Syrian regime's "war on civilians" and accused Russia of attacking mostly moderate opposition forces. He said more than half of the 436 civilians killed since the beginning of the month are "directly attributable to Russian airstrikes."

Russia has said it is targeting the "Islamic State" and other "terrorist" groups in a bid to support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

The latest uptick in violence and Russian intervention has prompted a renewed push for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict.

cw/gsw (AFP, AP)

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