UN human rights office “extremely worried” about military escalation in Syria’s Idlib region

The UN human rights office on Tuesday said it is extremely worried about the military escalation in northwestern Syria, despite the announcement of a recent 72-hour ceasefire.

Marta Hurtado, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a press briefing here Tuesday that there has been some reduction in violence, but airstrikes and ground-based attacks continue to take place in various parts of Idlib and Hama governorates in northwestern Syria.

“The situation remains volatile and the possibility of renewed clashes is high, worsening the prospects for some 3 million civilians caught in the crossfire,” she said.

Latest UN figures showed that from May 8 to 16, multiple attacks by pro-Government forces were registered, resulting in at least 56 civilians killed, and in the same period, attacks by non-State armed groups were reported, causing at least 17 civilian deaths.

The UN human rights office also said that since this latest military escalation started at the end of April, at least 105 civilians have been killed, and at least 200,000 people have fled the hostilities in southern Idlib and northern Hama.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor group said last weekend that a 72-hour truce mediated by Russia and Turkey went into effect in the aforementioned areas, but the pro-government al-Watan newspaper said Monday that while the Syrian army abided by the truce, it had to respond to the rebels’ violations.