The UN is warning an unprecedented bloodbath is looming in northwest Syria without international action to restrain the Assad regime.
Regime forces backed by Russia are advancing into Idlib and now shelling areas where displaced Syrians are camped.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to launch an operation in Syria’s Idlib region by the end of the month if Damascus fails to withdraw behind Turkish military positions.
“An operation in Idlib is imminent,” Erdogan told his party’s legislators in Parliament on Wednesday. “We are counting down, we are making our final warnings”.
UN Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Mark Cutts, told Sky News that even by this war’s brutal standards, the situation is now desperate.
“There are about a million displaced people living in camps and makeshift shelters in that area and if the shelling and airstrikes move any further in that area we’re going to see a bloodbath,” he said.
“We’re going to see a massacre on a scale that has never been seen in this entire war.”
The UN says Idlib is already facing a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions.
It says more than 900,000 people have been forced to flee their homes or camps since the start of December, most of them women and children.