Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Home Articles & Opinion Washington Must Protect Syrians Fleeing Idlib.By Robert S. Ford

Washington Must Protect Syrians Fleeing Idlib.By Robert S. Ford

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Washington Must Protect Syrians Fleeing Idlib

A Safe Zone Could Forestall a Humanitarian Crisis

Internally displaced children in Idlib, Syria, February 2020Khalil Ashawi / Reuters

In Syria’s last opposition stronghold, the worst fears of millions of people are coming true. With the help of brutal Russian airstrikes, Syrian government forces have seized about a third of Idlib Province over the last two months, pushing over 900,000 of the region’s 3.5 million people out of their homes and north toward the nearby Turkish border, where another 800,000 displaced people already live in crude, overcrowded camps.

The current wave of refugees fleeing Idlib, about 80 percent of whom are women and children, is now the largest exodus of Syria’s nine-year conflict. Aid agencies are overwhelmed, and food is scarce. With tent camps and even public buildings near the Turkish border already housing as many refugees as they can hold, 170,000 displaced people have been forced to sleep in unfinished buildings, in fields, or along roads in temperatures that frequently drop below freezing; babies and young children have died of

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