UN alarmed by escalating hostilities in SW Syria

The UN on Tuesday voiced alarm over escalating hostilities in southwestern Syria which have displaced at least 45,000 people.

"We are alarmed by reports in recent days of escalating hostilities in Dar'a governorate in south-western Syria which are endangering an estimated 750,000 people," Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told a press conference at the UN in Geneva.

Due to fighting on the ground and bombardment from the air, there have been reports of deaths and injuries, including among children, Laerke said.

"At least 45,000 people have reportedly been displaced mostly from eastern Dar'a governorate to areas near the border with Jordan. These displaced people are in urgent need of shelter and humanitarian aid," he said.

The UN called on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and allow freedom of movement.

Eastern Ghouta

"A crippling six-year-long siege, with intensive bombing and shelling, caused a humanitarian crisis inside Eastern Ghouta," a suburb of Damascus, Bettina Luescher, UN World Food Program (WFP) spokeswoman, separately told a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday.

Noting that only three interagency convoys have entered Eastern Ghouta this year, Luescher said: "There were no interagency convoys to the area since then."

"An estimated 200,000 people remain there, including some 50,000 in Douma city whom WFP is trying to reach with food assistance," she said.

Source: Anadolu Agency