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UN warns of ‘real bloodbath’ as northwest Syria fighting threatens displaced people

Fighting in northwest Syria is coming “dangerously close” to encampments with around a million displaced people, risking an imminent “bloodbath,” the United Nations said on Monday, February 24.

Mark Cutts, the U.N.’s Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, also said the U.N. 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 U.N. 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.

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