UN warns of worse to come in Syria as fighting escalates
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UN warns of worse to come in Syria as fighting escalates

Geneva: The United Nations voiced concern on Monday about an escalation in fighting and air strikes in Syria's Idlib province, where 2.5 million civilians have "no place else to go" within their homeland.

White Helmets civil defence workers and civilians inspecting damaged buildings after airstrikes hit in the village of Zardana, in Idlib province, on Friday.

White Helmets civil defence workers and civilians inspecting damaged buildings after airstrikes hit in the village of Zardana, in Idlib province, on Friday.

Photo: White Helmets/AP

Panos Moumtzis, UN regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria, called on major powers to broker a negotiated settlement to end the war and avoid a bloodbath in Idlib."

"We worry about 2.5 million people becoming displaced towards Turkey ... There is no other location to move them to (in Syria)," he said in  Geneva.

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An aid convoy reached the town of Douma in the enclave of eastern Ghouta outside Damascus on Sunday, but the Syrian government did not allow UN staff to accompany it, Moumtzis said.

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Warning that "we may have not seen the worst of the crisis" in Syria even after seven years of war, he said his agency was on "high alert" for further displacement among the estimated 2.5 million people living in Idlib.

He said that 920,000 people were displaced within Syria between January and April, the highest number of any four-month span since the war began.

Reuters, AP