Conflict Displaces Almost 700,000 Syrians in Deadly first months of 2018

 Almost three-quarters of a million Syrians have been forced out of their homes by fighting in the first months of 2018, according to the senior UN official coordinating the crisis response.

Panos Moumtzis, regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syrian crisis said in a statement "I am deeply concerned about the continuing massive displacement of close to 700,000 Syrians since the beginning of the year due to ongoing hostilities in the country."

Moumtzis added that the figures are in addition to the 6.5 million people already internally displaced, and the more than 5.6 million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries.

According to UN figures, the totals include those displaced from around Idlib, where more than 400,000 people have reportedly been uprooted by recent military operations, including more than 300,000 in Idlib itself and 137,000 from Afrin.

Also displaced in the first months of 2018 have been large numbers of people fleeing largely rural areas around Damascus.

"The crisis has also dramatically deepened for hundreds of thousands of people in rural Damascus following a devastating offensive on eastern Ghouta," said Moumtzis.

"This is unacceptable. Humanitarian organisations continue to call for minimum protection standards around civilian evacuations to be respected, including in relation to unconditional access to humanitarian assistance and protection of humanitarian workers."

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