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Up to 2 million Syrians could flee to Turkey if clashes worsen — UN

By Reuters - Jun 11,2019 - Last updated at Jun 11,2019

A photo taken on Sunday shows Syrians waving rebel flags and portraits of Abdel-Basset Al Sarout during the funeral of Syrian goalkeeper turned rebel fighter on June 8 of wounds sustained fighting regime forces in northwestern Syria (AFP photo)

GENEVA0 — Up to 2 million refugees could flee to Turkey if fighting intensifies in northwestern Syria as aid funds run dangerously low, the United Nations said on Monday.

Syria's Russian-backed military has been pressing an assault on insurgents in their last major stronghold with air attacks and ground battles that have already forced tens of thousands to leave their homes.

"Our fear is if this continues, and if the numbers continue soaring, and if the conflict intensifies, that we could see really hundreds of thousands, a million, two, heading towards the borders with Turkey," the UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Panos Moumtzis, said.

The onslaught since late April, focused mostly on southern parts of Idlib province and adjacent parts of Hama and Latakia, marks the most intense conflict between Syrian army and extremists hold up in Idlib since last summer.

Moumtzis told Reuters in Geneva that the situation was deteriorating and a deal between Russia and Turkey to deescalate the fighting there was effectively no longer in place.

The UN appealed for $3.3 billion to cover humanitarian work within Syria this year, and despite generous pledges, it has so far received only $500 million, leaving the aid effort surviving "hand-to-mouth", Moumtzis said.

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