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'Civilians here in northwest Syria have a right to live,' White Helmets volunteer says

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Syrian refugees head northwest through the town of Hazano in Idlib province as the flee renewed fighting Monday, Jan. 27, 2020.
Syrian refugees head northwest through the town of Hazano in Idlib province as the flee renewed fighting Monday, Jan. 27, 2020.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed   -   Ghaith Alsayed
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Syrian government troops have killed hundreds in a military campaign backed by Russia over the last few months to take the last opposition-held area of the country.

More than 900,000 people have been displaced, the United Nations has said and the situation is worsening as families try to flee the bombing.

"Civilians here in northwest Syria have a right to live," said Ishmael Alabdullah from the Syrian Civil Defence, more commonly known as the White Helmets, an aid organisation in Syria conducting rescue missions in the province.

Yet government forces have bombed civilian targets in the country, he says, including schools and hospitals. He says that the government wants to force people to flee.

"Why are they bombing the vital facilities, because they force the people to flee. They can destroy and capture new villages," he added.

He said there is not enough aid to help families that are trying to flee the province.

"Idlib is about to be the most catastrophic humanitarian situation in history," he said, stating that people needed shelter and that there wasn't enough aid for families.

Doctors without Borders said in a statement that three hospitals supported by the organisation received 185 wounded patients including children on February 25. Eighteen people were dead on arrival, the organisation said.

"The horrific indiscriminate campaign of bombing and shelling yesterday can only conceivably have been conducted by the Government of Syria and its allies," the organisation's general director Meinie Nicolai said in a statement.

Watch the full interview with Alabdullah in the video player above.