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30 January 2020 The Syrian regime continues its advance over Idlib

The Syrian army is intensifying its offensive over Idlib, the last rebel-held province in north-western Syria. Al Assad’s forces have conquered and completely destroyed the strategic town of Maarat Al-Nu’man after the capture of other towns and villages in the region. Despite the deal between Russia and Turkey, which made Idlib a de-escalation zone in September 2018, the area has been the target of both air and land attacks by Assad’s regime and Russian forces. Since then, more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in the region and some 700,000 Syrians are now displaced and moving towards Turkey’s border. In the meanwhile, medical aid for the population in northeast Syria is stuck in Iraq. On 29 January, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock told the UN Security Council that “some 400,000 medical items planned for delivery are stuck on trucks in Iraq and unable to cross” as a result of Russian and Chinese opposition to renew the UN Security Council’s authorization for cross-border deliveries.