The UN said more than 235,000 people had fled the Idlib region in the last two weeks as the attacks intensified on the ultimate opposition fortress in Syria.
The mass displacement between 12 and 25 December made the Maarat al-Numan area in southern Idlib “almost empty”, the UN said in a statement on Friday.
Since mid-December, Russian regime forces have continued to attack jihadists in South Idlib, despite the August ceasefire agreement, and calls for de-escalation from Turkey, France and the UN.
Air attacks increased with the advancing Russian regime.
Since 19 December, jihadists have detained dozens of towns and villages in clashes that killed hundreds on both sides.
Bombing and fighting on the ground have intensified resettlement from Maarat al-Numan and the nearby town of Saraqeb in South Idlib.
“The people of Saraqeb and its eastern country are now fleeing in anticipation of a struggle directly affecting their other communities,” she said.
Idlibu is dominated by former al-Qaeda associate country, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, whose leader urged jihadists and allied insurgents to move towards the front lines and fight the “Russian occupiers” and regime.
About 3 million people live in the region, many of whom have been resettled years of violence in other parts of Syria.
Bashar al-Assad’s government in Damascus, which controls 70% of Syria, has repeatedly pledged to take back the area.
Camp for displaced Syrians in Khirbet al-Joz in the west of Idlib province near the border with Turkey. Photo: Aaref Watad / AFP via Getty Images
The regime, supported by Moscow, launched an offensive against Idlib in April, killing some 1,000 civilians and displacing more than 400,000 people.
Despite the ceasefire announced in August, the bombing continued and called on Turkey to urge a new ceasefire agreement during talks in Moscow.
Earlier this week, France called for an “immediate de-escalation” to warn of deteriorating humanitarian conditions.
The war in Syria killed more than 370,000 people and since the beginning of 2011 has displaced millions of anti-government demonstrations that brutally suppressed security forces.