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UN: Tens Of Thousands Fled Syria's Aleppo Amid Army Offensive

Some 35,000 people have fled Syria's second city of Aleppo since government forces, backed by Russian air strikes began an offensive there last week, a UN agency said on October 20.

The displaced – mostly from Hader and Zerbeh on the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo -- were living with host families and in informal settlements further west in the province, said Vanessa Huguenin, a spokeswoman for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

They urgently need food and basic household and shelter items, she said.

The Syrian Army captured several villages near Aleppo since the offensive began on October 17.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported fresh Russian air strikes in the area on October 19.

The Syrian state news agency said the rural Aleppo area was one of 49 sites targeted by Russian warplanes, along with rural Damascus, Latakia, and Hama.

Some four million Syrians have become refugees and around seven million have been internally displaced since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, according to the UN.

More than 250,000 have been killed in the conflict.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters