Syrian civilians, with their belongings, on their way to safer zones near Turkish border as they flee their homes due to the airstrikes of Assad regime forces and Russia, in northwestern Syria's Idlib de-escalation zone, February 13, 2020. (Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

UN: Over 800,000 Civilians Flee Assad-Regime Offensive in Northwest Syria

More than 800,000 Syrians have fled their homes in northwest Syria since December 1. They are trying to escape a Russian-backed Syrian military campaign to retake the last rebel stronghold in the country, Reuters reports the spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, David Swanson, saying on Thursday. Whole towns and villages targeted by Russian airstrikes, Syrian artillery shelling, and attacks by pro-Iranian militias, have emptied out as residents – mostly women and children – seek the relative safety of refugee camps near the Turkish border. The residents are fleeing in open trucks and on foot, often at night and despite bitterly cold temperatures. Aid workers say families fleeing the offensive in the Idlib province are sleeping in the street and olive groves, and burning garbage to stay warm.

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