In Syria, 33 Turkish soldiers were killed Thursday in an airstrike by Russian-backed Syrian forces in rebel-held Idlib province, in a major escalation in the all-out offensive by Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Turkey vowed to respond in kind, as U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called for an immediate ceasefire, saying “the risk of even greater escalation grows by the hour.” Fighting in Idlib has displaced some 900,000 people since December, and many children have frozen to death in the dire conditions. This is UNICEF’s Executive Director Henrietta Fore, who testified Thursday to the U.N. Security Council.
Henrietta Fore: “Tens of thousands are now living in makeshift tents, in public buildings, in open air, huddled under trees, exposed to rain and snow in sub-zero cold of the harsh Syrian winter. The recent strikes on these makeshift camps in Idlib — and on the children and teachers horrifically killed just two days ago as 10 schools were attacked — are both reprehensible and morally repugnant. Also these acts clearly demonstrate the terrifying daily conditions of those living through this nightmare.”
We’ll have more on the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Syria after headlines, when we’ll speak with the head of Doctors Without Borders USA.