A major new offensive has been launched in Ethiopia’s Northern region, as the national army battles against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. The news comes despite warnings of significant new sanctions against Ethiopia if the fighting continues.

And there are fresh calls for immediate humanitarian assistance.

Government and allied troops have intensified their battle against rebellious Tigrayan forces. There have also been a number of airstrikes in the latest wave of fresh fighting in Northern Ethiopia.

A spokesman for the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front described the offensive as a ‘genocidal war’ and again called for a ‘peaceful resolution to the crisis.’

It comes amid growing frustration from the international community about the deteriorating humanitarian situation.

The European Parliament is the latest to call for punitive measures to push for peace negotiations. It is threatening sanctions if the humanitarian situation does not improve by the end of October. And it’s asking its member states to halt the export of arms and surveillance technology to Ethiopia if they are being used to facilitate attacks on civilians.

The United States has already placed new sanctions on Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, the United Nations believes at least 7 million people are already in need of emergency assistance in the region, and that number is growing.

An African Union-led peace process that Ethiopia said it would embrace is yet to begin, as the government turns to the fresh offensive in the North of the country.

Ethiopia to work with the AU to solve conflict in the Tigray region: