A UN agency said Friday that nearly 250,000 people have been displaced in Idlib, Syria, in the past two weeks,.

"According to current estimates, more than 235,000 people have been displaced from southern Idleb [Idlib] since 12 December, including at least 140,000 children," the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.

It said the UN "remains deeply concerned" for the safety and protection of more than 3 million civilians in Idlib, more than half of whom are internally displaced due to the recently escalated wave of violence.

Noting that certain cities in the surrounding areas reported to be almost empty of civilians as families fled northwards to safety, the UN underlined that it received "disturbing reports" of civilians being killed while on the move.

"On 24 December, an airstrike reportedly impacted an area where displaced people had gathered near Jawbas village, near Saraqab town. At least 12 people, including 4 children, were reportedly killed," it said.

It went on to say that ground fighting is also negatively impacting civilians, as reports show tens of civilians, including women and children were wounded by shelling in northwestern Hama province, while a number of residential areas were "severely" damaged.

Apart from shelling and bombings, winter conditions were also aggravating the "dire humanitarian situation," it added. "Families are fleeing in torrential rain and temperatures at night are close to freezing."

The UN also stressed more than 100,000 people, who have fled in the last weeks, are reportedly living in camps, unfinished or partially destroyed buildings, in tents, under trees and even out in the open.

The statement said that those newly displaced people add to over 400,000 women, children and men displaced as a result of hostilities between the end of April and early December, many of them multiple times.

The OCHA noted that during the same period it has recorded over 1,330 civilian deaths.

"The UN urges all parties, and those with influence over them, to ensure the protection of civilians, freedom of movement, and to allow sustained and unhindered access by all humanitarian parties to provide life-saving assistance to all in need."

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.

Idlib falls within a de-escalation zone laid out in a deal between Turkey and Russia in late 2018. The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the zone.

The de-escalation zone is currently home to 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-weary country.