Saturday, 20 July, 2019

Worst of Syria's humanitarian crisis still to come

920,000 displaced in Syria in 2018 highest since conflict began UN Takfiri terrorists attack besieged Shia towns in Syria's Idlib: Monitor
Deanna Wagner | 13 June, 2018, 15:42

"We worry about seeing really 2.5 million people becoming displaced", he said, adding that the United Nations was now drawing up a range of contingency plans in case the situation escalates.

Elsewhere in Syria, he said the numbers of people stuck in besieged or other areas humanitarian workers can not easily access has shrunk dramatically since previous year to just over two million people.

His comments came after several deadly air strikes in recent days in Idlib that have left dozens of people dead, including children.

Air strikes on a village in Idlib killed at least 44 people overnight, the highest death toll in a single attack on the region this year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.

With the United States dollars 1.8 billion appeal for Syria only 26 percent funded, the UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator said on Monday that the worldwide response to the seven-year conflict was "really at a breaking point". Russian Federation is a main backer of Bashar Assad's forces and has helped turn the tide of war in his favor with a campaign of airstrikes.

Despite the fact the Syrian government has regained control of most of the territory and the war is now confined to specific areas, internal displacement continues to be massive, according to the UN.

But Moumtzis said "our worry is that with the Idlib situation, we may not have seen the worst of the crisis in Syria".

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The attack was led by the forces of President Assad.

Across Syria, more than two million people are in so-called hard-to-reach areas and around 11,000 are still under siege in three opposition-controlled locations.

He reiterated that Idlib was a de-escalation zone, established as part of an agreement reached in May 2017 in Astana by the three guarantor nations of the Syrian ceasefire - Russia, Iran and Turkey.

"The humanitarian response on the ground is really at a breaking point".

Across the governorate, he said, "protection of civilians is of major concern, in particular given the composition; given the fact that there is a sizeable number of women, children, families living there". "From January to April, there were over 920,000 newly displaced people", he told reporters in Geneva.

Some 6.2 million people are internally displaced and a further 5.6 million have fled the country amid an ongoing conflict that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and destroyed basic infrastructure.

"We are on high alert", he said.