Jens Laerke, spokesman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told a news briefing in the Swiss city of Geneva on Friday that the world body is “gravely concerned” about the plight of thousands of civilians escaping from the last vestige of Daesh's territorial rule at the besieged village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border.
Laerke added that Hol camp now holds at least 45,000 people, including 13,000 civilians who fled Dayr al-Zawr last week.
“Many of them have arrived exhausted, hungry and sick,” he said, adding that nine out of 10 were women and children, Presstv reported.
“It's a very long, a very tiring journey to this camp, so far [we] have reports of more than 84 deaths on that road, on that stretch of territory. Two-thirds of those who have died are children under five years of age,” Laerke said.
The senior UN official went on to say that some 175 children have been hospitalized due to severe malnutrition, citing reports from UN agencies and aid groups on the ground.
Meanwhile, the US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) expect a fierce battle with Daesh terrorists in Baghouz.
Mustafa Bali, the head of the SDF media office, told Reuters on Friday that Daesh militants were still holed up in the eastern Syrian village, and that the extremists were making their last stand there.
Bali noted that there were still civilians in the enclave, and the SDF would evacuate another large group of civilians on Friday.
“We won't storm the village and declare it liberated unless we have completely confirmed the departure of civilians. We expect a fierce battle,” he said.
President Donald Trump asserted on Thursday that US-backed forces in Syria had retaken 100 percent of the territory once held by Daesh.
“We just took over, you know, you kept hearing it was 90 percent, 92 percent, the caliphate in Syria. Now it's 100 percent we just took over, 100 percent caliphate,” Trump told American troops stationed in Alaska.
Daesh terrorists, who launched a terror campaign of bloodshed and destruction against people in Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, have been defeated and eradicated from most regions in Syria.
The victories have been scored thanks to successful military operations by Syrian government forces and allied fighters from popular defense groups, who are being offered guidelines by Iranian and Russian military advisors.