Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A new cease-fire in Syria has failed to protect citizens in the nation's northwest, where civilians have been killed and displaced by protracted fighting this week that violated the terms of the truce, the United Nations' top human rights official said Friday.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said despite efforts to establish "safe corridors" for Syrians trying to escape the violence, government forces and militias kept fighting after the cease-fire agreement took effect last week.
Bachelet called for a de-escalation of fighting in Idlib and for government leaders to protect citizens and civilian infrastructure.
"Our main concern is for the safety of civilians who remain at serious risk," Bachelet said in a statement. "While the pursuit of a cease-fire is, of course, to be encouraged, this agreement ... has yet again failed to protect civilians.
"It is deeply distressing that civilians are still being killed on a daily basis in missile strikes from both the air and ground. Women, men and children simply carrying out everyday activities at home, the workplace, in markets and at schools are being killed and maimed in senseless violence."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday government airstrikes killed almost two dozen civilians in the Idlib province. The Syrian Civil Defense force said 82 were injured.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs estimated last month 235,000 civilians have been displaced in southern Idlib -- about 140,000 of whom are children.