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Humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib in Northern Syria

09 January 2020

With almost 300,000 fleeing violence in Idlib, Trócaire calls for urgent international action to protect civilians

Civilians fleeing from the recent escalation of hostilities in Idlib province in north Syria.

Almost 300,000 people have fled violence in Idlib in the past month as the humanitarian crisis has escalated. 80% of those fleeing are estimated to be women and children, including many who had already been previously displaced by the conflict in Syria, now in its ninth year.

Schools and hospitals have been bombed, and there are multiple reports of the deliberate targeting of civilians as they try to escape, all in direct contravention of International Humanitarian Law. People fleeing are moving north to seek safe shelter. Public buildings such as schools, halls and other sub-standard structures are now being used to host displaced families. 

Those who have fled are seeking safety and access to services. They are fleeing during cold harsh winter weather, which further exacerbates how vulnerable they are. 

Families are in urgent need of humanitarian support including food and shelter, winter clothes and blankets, as well as health and psychological support.

Of particular concern, many humanitarian workers themselves are now among those who have had to flee for safety. Many humanitarian buildings have been reduced to rubble. These include schools for displaced children, medical clinics for those most in need, and centres used as safe spaces for women and girls. 

Schools and hospitals have been bombed, as well as civilians fleeing from the conflict in Idlib.

Trócaire stands in solidarity with the three million civilians that live in Idlib who are once again suffering the devastating consequences of this protracted war and are calling on the world to act urgently to protect civilians in Idlib.

Trócaire calls on the Irish Government, European Union and the international community to take action, and we call on all conflicting parties to adhere to international law and uphold their international obligation to protect civilians.

Accountability for crimes against humanity, war crimes and human rights violations should be a central component of all discussions on the future of Syria.