UN refugees agency: 29 children have died in Syria recently

BEIRUT (AP) — A spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency says 29 children have died in recent weeks after making their way out of the last area controlled by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria.

Andrej Mahecic of UNHCR said in Geneva on Friday that malnourishment and hypothermia have been the principal causes of the children’s deaths.

He said some 10,000 people have fled the area near the Iraqi border and reached the al-Hol tent settlement in the northeastern province of Hassakeh, raising its population to more than 23,000.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have captured wide areas from IS in recent months. The extremists are now besieged in a small pocket near Iraq’s border.

Mahecic said UNHCR and humanitarian partners are racing to meet the urgent needs of vulnerable civilians at al-Hol.

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