July 2, 2018 / 10:23 AM / 3 months ago

Number of displaced in southern Syria climbs to 270,000 - U.N.

AMMAN (Reuters) - The number of people forced to flee their homes in southwestern Syria as a result of the two week escalation in fighting has climbed to 270,000 people, the U.N. refugee spokesman in Jordan said.

Humanitarian aid is prepared to be delivered to Syria, in the town of Ramtha, Jordan, July 2, 2018. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

The United Nations said last week 160,000 had been displaced as they fled heavy bombardment and mostly took shelter in villages and areas near the Israeli and Jordanian borders.

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“Our latest update shows the figure of displaced across southern Syria has exceeded 270,000 people,” Mohammad Hawari, UNHCR’s Jordan spokesman told Reuters.

The United Nations has warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in the southwest caused by the fighting that erupted after a Russian-backed army offensive to recapture rebel-held southern Syria.

Jordan, which has taken in more than half a million displaced Syrians since the war began, and Israel have said they will not open their borders to refugees.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told reporters on Monday after a meeting with U.N. officials that shipments of aid were waiting to get approvals to enter into Syria from the Jordanian border.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Alison Williams

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