UN chief ‘deeply concerned’ by military escalation in northwest Syria

António Guterres is “deeply concerned” about the ongoing military operation in the region, according to a statement issued on Saturday by his spokesperson.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Idlib province have been fleeing towards Turkey as Government forces attack the last major stronghold held by the opposition, according to media reports.

The Secretary-General underlined that attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, such as healthcare facilities, are unacceptable.

“Military operations of all parties, including actions against and by designated terrorist groups, must respect the rules and obligations of international humanitarian law, which include the protection of civilians and civilian objects,” the statement said.

The UN chief reiterated that there is no military solution to the conflict.

In a briefing to the Security Council on Wednesday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock told ambassadors that the fighting in Idlib appeared “more intense than anything we have seen in the last year”.

He reported that humanitarian organizations have provided food to more than 1.4 million civilians as well as health supplies to treat nearly 200,000.

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