UNITED NATIONS- An escalation in fighting in Darfur has forced 138,000 people to flee their homes since mid-January and there is no end in sight to the 13-year conflict in Sudan’s vast western region, the UN peacekeeping chief said Wednesday. Herve Ladsous painted a grim picture to the UN Security Council of the upsurge in fighting in Darfur’s Jebel Marra area between Sudanese government forces and rebels loyal to the Sudan Liberation Army’s founder Abdul Wahid Elnur. The government has blocked access to the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force known as UNAMID and humanitarian organizations, so the number of casualties is unknown, he said. The Security Council briefing follows a report from UN experts monitoring sanctions against Sudan dated mid-December that has been circulated to council members but not released because of Russian objections to some recommendations. The report, obtained by The Associated Press, said armed groups in Darfur are capitalizing on gold mined in the region to illicitly raise funds.