Syria presses assault amid fears over mass displacement

Beirut: Syrian troops pressed an offensive Tuesday on the country’s last major rebel enclave where the mass displacement of civilians is sparking fears of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Around 900,000 people have been forced from their homes and shelters in less than three months, leaving huge numbers to sleep rough in the thick of winter.

The United Nations said that half a million among them were children, some of whom have died of exposure in snow-covered camps.

The UN has warned that the crisis could worsen if no ceasefire is reached to facilitate the relief effort.

“Over the past four days alone, some 43,000 newly displaced people have fled western Aleppo where fighting has been particularly fierce,” UN spokesman David Swanson told AFP.

Since the start of February, the displacement figure was a staggering 300,000, he said. - AFP