Needs "acute" in Syria's Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour

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Displaced Syrians who fled the besieged city of Raqqa arrive in Ein Issa camp in north-east Syria. Photo: UNHCR/Bassam Diab

Fighting to drive out ISIL extremists from strongholds in Syria's Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour has compounded the "acute" needs of civilians, the UN said on Monday.

The development comes as Syrian forces and opposition militias continue their assault on the extremists' strongholds in the north and east of the conflict-hit country.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Having been driven out of Mosul in neighbouring Iraq, ISIL fighters have yet to do the same in Syria's Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour.

Those who've suffered the most are civilians.

Many thousands are believed to be trapped in Raqqa city in north-east Syria, where the UN says it does not have "any sustained access".

Further east in Deir ez-Zour governorate, the UN has recorded mass displacement since 1 April.

Here's Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA:

"In both places the humanitarian concerns are acute, I would say. Inside Raqqa city where fighting and military operations have continued, we estimate that there is somewhere between 20,000 and 50,000 people trapped inside…Around Raqqa since 1 April there has been massive displacement, also hundreds of thousands of women and children and men have been displaced."

Those who have managed to flee ISIL in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour have access to humanitarian aid, shelter and healthcare.

But concern is growing for those left behind.

They've been without clean water for weeks now, the UN says.

Throughout Syria the UN and its partners help 13.5 million people in need.

More than 1.3 million require aid in Idlib governorate alone, where around 8,000 Syrian militants and refugees are reportedly being repatriated from Lebanon's border region.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1’26″


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