This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Rival Libya military groups begin talks in Geneva
A meeting of Libya’s rival military groups has begun in Geneva, it’s been announced.
In a statement from the UN in Geneva on Monday, the organization said that senior officers – the so-called “5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission” – are participating in the talks.
They represent the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (or GNA) and the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA).
The LNA began its siege of Tripoli last April, led by commander Khalifa Haftar, who is aligned with a rival administration in the eastern city of Tobruk.
According to the UN communiqué, the talks are being moderated by Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, or UNSMIL.
First sick patients leave Yemen in Sana'a air operation
Sick patients from Yemen have been flown out of the capital Sana’a for specialized treatment in Jordan after the successful launch of an “air bridge” operation coordinated by the UN.
An initial group of 30 people and their companions flew out of the embattled country on Monday; further flights are planned.
In a joint statement, senior UN officials expressed their gratitude to Egypt, Jordan and also Saudi Arabia “for their efforts in this humanitarian measure”.
The UN officials also noted the “collaboration and commitment” of both the Government of Yemen and their Houthi rivals in Sana’a that had made the operation possible.
Nearly five years after fighting escalated in Yemen, 24 million people out of the population of 30.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The conflict has left 3.6 million people, including 2 million children, internally displaced.
Syria: UN health agency highlights ‘critical health threats’ facing Idlib civilians
The World Health Organization (WHO) raised the alarm on Monday over critical health threats facing hundreds of thousands of Syrians forced to flee amid intensified hostilities in Syria’s northwest.
Fighting in Idlib, the last area in the country under opposition-control, has intensified in recent weeks, amid “unprecedented” mass displacement, said WHO.
Nearly 520,000 have been forced to leave their homes, many for the second time, since 1 December.
On average, WHO and its partners reach 800,000 in northwest Syria every month – but the agency said the situation on the ground is changing by the hour.
As of 31 January, at least 53 health facilities had suspended services since the beginning of the year, owing to insecurity, threats of attacks, or the fact that entire areas have been deserted by civilians seeking refuge from violence and daily bombardments.
This has further limited access to basic healthcare and reduced protection against communicable diseases.
An estimated 2.9 million people in Syria’s northwest are in need of healthcare.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.