Fighting displaces 1 lakh in Central Syria in 8 days, says UN
Intense fighting between the Syrian government troops and insurgents in the country’s central Hama province has displaced some 100,000 people over eight days between late August and early September, the UN humanitarian agency said.
Earlier this month, insurgents pushed northward in Hama, surprising government troops and dislodging them from areas they controlled around the provincial capital, also called Hama, including a military base and towns and villages near the highway to Damascus.
The offensive, led by an ultraconservative Islamic group, Jund al-Aqsa, and also involving several factions from the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, incurred an intense government bombing campaign that killed dozens of people. The fighting and the aerial bombardment sent tens of thousands of people fleeing for safety, creating the latest wave of displacement, part of a pattern that has left nearly half of the Syrian population displaced since the war began in 2011.
In a “flash update” on Tuesday, OCHA said figures from a camp coordination group show that nearly
half of the displaced from Hama arrived in the neighboring rebel-held Idlib governorate. Others fled toward government-controlled Hama city, where four mosques were converted into temporary shelters, it said. Schools in rural areas of Hama were also turned into shelters. A shortage of shelter space means many displaced families are sleeping outdoors in parks in Idlib, the UN agency said.