Vatican City, Feb 9, 2020 / 06:15 am America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Francis appealed Sunday for the protection of women and children fleeing violence in northwestern Syria, as more than half a million people have been displaced in two months.
“Painful news continues to arrive from the northwest of Syria, in particular on the conditions of many women and children, people forced to flee due to military escalation,” Pope Francis said Feb. 9.
At least 520,000 people have been displaced from their homes since December during the Russian-backed Syrian government’s offensive in Idlib province, Syria’s last rebel-held territory, which borders Turkey.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 80% of those displaced have been women and children.
"This latest wave of displacement compounds an already dire humanitarian situation on the ground in Idlib," David Swanson, spokesman for the UN humanitarian office said Feb. 4.