At a UN press briefing on Tuesday, Jens Laerke of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated that some 700,000 people have been displaced in Syria over the last 10 weeks.
The fast-growing number of fleeing people is a result of the Syrian government pushing north toward Turkey in an attempt to gain control over rebel-held areas near Idlib. This push, combined with Russian airstrikes, has led to the largest displacement of people in the country since the conflict began nine years ago. Laerke explained that the crisis is not only Syria’s largest, but “the world’s largest concentration of displaced people” as well.
Andrej Mahecic of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) also spoke at the conference on the severity of the forceful relocation and dire need for assistance. According to Mahecic:
Protection services, targeting the most vulnerable displaced persons [have been] scaled up, including psychosocial counseling and other emergency protection support, including to many children. The conflict in Syria has caused the biggest displacement crisis in the world. Over 5.5 million Syrians live as refugees in the region. More than six million Syrians are displaced within the country.
The UNHCR tweeted that so many people are seeking refuge that “even finding a place in an unfinished building is near impossible.”