UN worried about Syrians trapped by fighting in northern Syria

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The file photo shows Syrians walking through the rubble following a bombing by Daesh in Marea, northern Aleppo. (By AFP)

Two () agencies have expressed concern about the situation of the thousands of Syrians trapped by fighting near the Turkish border.
A joint statement from the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for and the Humanitarian Coordinator for the Crisis said on Tuesday that both Kurdish and Turkey-backed militants were hindering attempts by people fleeing the fighting north of the city of Aleppo.
“An unknown number of people are also unable to flee due to fighting and the closure of the main road leading north towards the town of Azaz in northwestern Syria,” said the statement, adding the violence has already displaced thousands near the Turkish frontier.
It said more than 160,000 people, who mostly fled fighting earlier this year, are already sheltering near the border.
The new exodus was triggered after Daesh launched a blitz into the town of Marea, 25 kilometers north of Aleppo, and seized its control.
Clashes have also erupted between Turkish-backed militants, who previously controlled Marea, and the YPG, a Syrian Kurdish militia that controls wide areas of territory to the west of the city, causing more civilians to be trapped by the fighting.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued a separate report on the situation, saying Kurdish militia had been preventing civilians fleeing the Daesh advance from entering areas under their control in response to militant shelling of Sheikh Maqsoud, a Kurdish-held area of Aleppo.
“An estimated 7,000 civilians still remain inside and unable to leave due to restrictions imposed by Kurdish authorities,” said OCHA of the situation in Marea and nearby Sheikh Issa, adding that about 2,000 people had managed to evacuate the two locations.
It added that militants in town of Azaz near the Turkish border also issued a directive on May 24 to not let in any more people fleeing Daesh-held areas.
“Humanitarian agencies have continued to suspend operations and evacuate staff from towns in close proximity to hostilities,” the OCHA report said.

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