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Photo: Rami Al Sayed/AFP via Getty Images

As Syrian troops push into opposition-held towns and villages in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, roughly 600,000 civilians have evacuated their homes, fleeing to the Turkish border, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: This latest emigration could quickly become one of the "worst humanitarian crisis" since the war started in 2011, the Post writes. Already, it is among the biggest single population dislocations throughout the nine-year war, a United Nations spokesperson told the Post.

The state of play: Eight international organizations have said this mass movement has cost more than 500,000 lives, and displaced more than 16 million people.

  • Upward of 200,000 people already fled from their homes last week, and another 300,000 people have been displaced since the Syrian government began its offensive in early December, per the Post.
  • Those fleeing are mainly women and children, the Post notes.
  • An estimated 280,000 additional people are at risk of being forced to evacuate, pushing more people into a pocket of land near the Turkish border.
  • Official Syrian troops are making their way to Idlib now, where another 900,000 live and could join the mass emigration if the soldiers attack, per the Post.

What to watch, per the Post: At a U.N. Security Council emergency session this week to discuss the crisis, the U.S. and its allies recommended an immediate cease-fire. But Western diplomats do not anticipate U.N. action is likely because Russia continues to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

  • "The latest battles serve as a reminder that the Syrian war is far from over, even though its outcome is no longer in doubt," the Post writes.

Go deeper: Syria's Idlib offensive forces civilians to flee, pits Turkey against Russia

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”