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. 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 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.
Panos Moumtzis, regional humanitarian coordinator for the country’s crisis, issued a bleak picture of continuing large-scale displacement.
“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.”
More than half of Syria’s population had now been forced to flee, he said: “Civilians in Syria continue to be caught up in horrific violence. Hostilities, including attacks on residential areas, civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, markets, schools … have resulted in scores of civilians being killed or injured on a daily basis. “This is unacceptable."