By Umar Farooq
WASHINGTON (AA) – A military operation in Syria’s Idlib governate and its surrounding areas would endanger the lives of at least 3 million civilians, a UN official warned Tuesday.
In a written statement, Panos Moumtzis, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, condemned the "horrific" attacks that targeted civilians as well as civilian and residential infrastructure in Idlib and Aleppo governates over the weekend. The attacks killed 116 civilians, most of them women and children.
"This extreme violence is completely unacceptable. I remain deeply concerned for the safety and protection of the millions of civilians living in this area," he said.
Moumtzis further noted that any military operation in the area would not only endanger the lives of millions of civilians but also hinder any efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the area.
“It is imperative all parties to the conflict and those with influence over them come to a genuine and inclusive agreement to settle the conflict in Syria in a peaceful manner, to prevent the further suffering of the Syrian people. Civilians should not and must not be a target.”
He previously noted that the deterioration of the situation in Idlib could lead to over 2 million people moving towards the border with Turkey, which could put enormous pressure on the country.
*Betul Yuruk contributed to this story