Russian-backed Syrian offensive kills dozens, displaces tens of thousands

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/russian-backed-syrian-offensive-kills-dozens-displaces-tens-of-thousands/2019/12/25/3f5ce2f6-235d-11ea-b034-de7dc2b5199b_story.html

ISTANBUL — A crushing military offensive by the Syrian government and its Russian allies in northern Syria has killed dozens of civilians and displaced more than 100,000 people in less than 10 days, humanitarian aid groups and medical officials there say.

The assault in Syria’s Idlib province is part of a push by President Bashar al-Assad to regain control of strategic highways, and ultimately the country’s last major rebel-held area. Clashes, government shelling and Russian airstrikes this month have sparked a panicked exodus that aid workers warn could lead to one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of Syria’s eight-year civil war.

Homes in Maarat al-Numan, the largest city in Idlib’s southern countryside and the main target of the escalation, have steadily emptied as a parade of cars streams out, residents say. People are struggling to find medical care and shelter as the number fleeing airstrikes swells.

Russian-backed Syrian offensive kills dozens, displaces tens of thousands

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