June 11, 2018 / 8:54 AM / 6 months ago

U.N. fears for 2.5 million in Idlib, Syria as fighting escalates

Panos Moumtzis, United Nations humanitarian coordinator on the Syria crisis attends a news conference on the latest developments regarding humanitarian access in Syria, in Geneva, Switzerland June 11, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations voiced concern on Monday about an escalation in fighting and air strikes in Syria’s Idlib province, where 2.5 million civilians have “no place else to go” within their homeland.

Panos Moumtzis, U.N. regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria, called on major powers to broker a negotiated settlement to end the war and avoid a bloodbath in Idlib.” “We worry about 2.5 million people becoming displaced towards Turkey ... There is no other location to move them to (in Syria),” he told a news briefing in Geneva.

An aid convoy reached the town of Douma in the enclave of eastern Ghouta outside Damascus on Sunday, but the Syrian government did not allow U.N. staff to accompany it, Moumtzis said.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by John Stonestreet

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