Credit: UN OCHA
Three million civilians in northwest Syria are scared and many are homeless.
With no concrete actions taken beyond political statements and promises, Syria and the world may soon be witnessing the "worst humanitarian tragedy of the 21st century." Rescue and medical workers on the ground are warning that they have not seen such ferocious attacks in eight years in Idlib. If the conflict continues to escalate, as many as 700,000 people could be displaced from their homes in Syria’s last opposition stronghold.
“Half of Syria’s population has already been displaced by eight years of war, yet the worst may still come,” said Arnaud Quemin, Mercy Corps’ Syria Country Director. “While entire communities were forced to flee and sought shelter in Idlib, three million people there, half of whom are internally displaced already, now fear they will have nowhere to go if war comes again to their doorsteps.”
There is no justification for ongoing attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure. Parties to the conflict have a legal obligation to protect civilians and spare them from the worst effects of the fighting and to avoid attacking schools, hospitals and homes. Clearly these rules are being violated in northwest Syria today. In response to the recent alarming chapters of military escalation, we urge all parties to act quickly to ensure the protection of civilians in northwest Syria and compliance with international humanitarian law.