turkey syria refugees.jpg
Photograph: EPA/SEDAT SUNA

An estimated 592,700 people currently live in besieged areas in Syria, UN humanitarian affairs chief Stephen O'Brien said Friday.

O'Brien told the UN Security Council that the updated figure is an increase of 75,000 from an estimate published less than two weeks ago.

O'Brien gave this breakdown of the numbers:

- 452,700 people besieged by Syrian government in various locations around Damascus and Homs

- 110,000 people besieged by the Islamic State in Deir ez-Zor

- 20,000 people besieged by non-state armed groups and al-Nusra Front in Foua, Kefraya and Idlib

- 10,000 people under siege by the government and non-state armed groups in Yarmouk

"These figures are shocking as they underscore the sharply deteriorating situation for civilians even while the cessation of hostilities is in place," O'Brien said.

"The punishment of civilians through besiegement tactics must stop immediately."

A report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon dated May 19 estimated that 517,700 people were under siege in Syria at 18 locations, which was already an increase over the previous figure of 480,700 due to more accurate numbers emerging from besieged areas.

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