Civilians fleeing in eastern Syria need transit site, aid in winter: UNHCR

Reuters , Friday 1 Feb 2019

Eastern Ghouta, Syria
File Photo: A student walks along a damaged street in the town of Kafr Batna, in eastern Ghouta, Syria September 5, 2018. (Reuters)

The U.N. refugee agency said on Friday it had asked the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to designate a transit site on the way to al-Hol camp where civilians fleeing fighting in harsh winter weather can be given life-saving aid.

At least 29 children and newborns are reported to have died in the teeming camp in northeastern Syria over the past eight weeks, mainly due to hypothermia and exposure, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday.

"Safe passage for civilians is critically important and must be ensured," UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic told a briefing. "Little or no assistance is provided en route to the hungry and cold people, the vast majority of whom are women and children."

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