If you've grown somewhat numb to the nine-year-old Syrian civil war, this week's headlines may be enough to give you a jolt: "Syria's worst humanitarian catastrophe in its ... civil war is now unfolding," proclaims Vox. "Children Freeze to Death as Attack Prompts Largest Exodus of Syrian War," writes the New York Times. To understand what's changed, you need to understand Idlib: It's the final rebel stronghold, a northwestern province whose main city is also called Idlib. The area is home to about 3 million people, roughly half of whom arrived there from elsewhere in Syria during the war's earlier years. And now they must flee again as Bashar al-Assad and his Russia-backed forces try to take it. Coverage:
- "This is creating an unfathomable humanitarian catastrophe," writes Jen Kirby at Vox, where she cites a UN estimate that at least 900,000 people have fled Idlib since Dec. 1, with most headed north toward the closed Turkish border. It's a brutal time to flee, with winter temps dropping below freezing and many having just a tent for shelter; others shelter under only trees.