UN Security Council to meet on Syria's Idlib

United Nations (United States) (AFP) –


The UN Security Council will meet Friday to discuss the escalation of fighting in Syria's northwestern region of Idlib, where hospitals and schools have been hit by strikes, diplomats said.

Belgium, Germany and Kuwait, three non-permanent council members, requested the closed-door meeting on Wednesday after Russia and the Syrian government stepped up their bombardments of the jihadist-held region.

The three countries are leading the council's efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in Syria, now in its ninth year of war.

Since April 29, 12 health facilities including two major hospitals have been hit in northwest Syria, according to the World Health Organization.

About three million people live in Idlib, the last major bastion to remain outside the control of the Syrian government.

Council members will hear a briefing from UN humanitarian officials on the surge in violence that has sent more than 150,000 people fleeing in one week alone.

The meeting is scheduled for 10.00 am (1400 GMT) on Friday.

Western powers are concerned that the Russia-backed Syrian government will launch a full-scale assault despite a deal reached with rebel backer Turkey to set up a de-escalation zone in Idlib.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged warring sides to protect civilians and to re-commit to a ceasefire agreed in September 2018.

On Monday, the violence killed 43 fighters and five civilians, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.