The United Nations has warned the world is facing the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century as the forces of President Bashar al-Assad close in on Syria’s last opposition stronghold, forcing more than one million people to flee into an ever shrinking space at the closed and fortified border with Turkey.
The battle for Idlib has caused the biggest displacement of people so far in Syria’s nine-year civil war and more than half of the million people now living in tents and out in the open in freezing temperatures are children, according to the UN.
Assad’s key ally Russia controls the airspace over Idlib and has been bombing Turkey-backed rebels in support of a months-long offensive by government forces. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has given Syrian government forces until the end of February to halt their offensive or Turkish forces will defend Idlib city.
The UN, using notably strong language, has said that a “bloodbath for civilians” is imminent if a ceasefire cannot be agreed.
On this episode of The Stream, we ask why Idlib is not getting more attention from the world’s media and governments, and whether anything can be done to spare the civilians trapped between the warring sides.
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