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UN: about 700 thousand people left their homes in Syria since the beginning of the year

UNITED NATIONS (OBSERVATORY) – About 700 thousand people left their homes in Syria in early 2018 as a result of hostilities. Now more than half of the Syrians are refugees and displaced persons, Panos Mummis, the UN regional coordinator for the Syrian crisis, said on Tuesday.

He called for the protection of the civilian population of the country.

“I am deeply concerned about the continuing mass displacement as a result of the fighting in the country of almost 700,000 Syrians since the beginning of the year,” he said.

Mumcis recalled that there are 6.5 million displaced persons inside Syria, another 5.6 million have found shelter in neighboring states.

“More than half of the population of Syria is currently displaced, and it needs humanitarian assistance and protection,” the coordinator emphasized.

In the northwestern part of the province of Idlib, Mumcis continued, owing to recent military operations, more than 400,000 people reportedly left their homes, according to reports.

More than 133 thousand Syrians became displaced because of fighting in East Ghouta.

According to Mumcis, he “is deeply concerned about the appalling allegations that chemical weapons were used against civilians in the Duma.”

“Although the UN is not in a position to verify these reports, any use of chemical weapons, if confirmed, is a disgusting act and requires careful investigation,” the coordinator said. Protection of civilians “should remain at the center of our efforts,” he stressed.