Assault on Idlib ‘human tragedy’ leading to deadliest chapter of devastating conflict

Assault on Idlib ‘human tragedy’ leading to deadliest chapter of devastating conflict

Amid reports of airstrikes in Idlib, Islamic Relief warns of an impending humanitarian disaster in the northern Syria region.

At least five people have been killed, with several families reported to be still under the rubble following the airstrikes. One of the targets was a school and another strike was near a mosque, while the rest were mostly homes of ordinary people, through random strikes on populated areas. The majority of casualities are women and children.

Ahmed Mahmoud, Islamic Relief’s Syria spokesman said:

“A full-on assault on Idlib would be a human tragedy, and possibly one of the worst and deadliest chapters of this devastating almost eight-year conflict.”

Once a large-scale assault begins, we expect to see huge civilian displacement, with anywhere between 200,000 and 700,000 people fleeing in a matter of days, likely pushing further north into an ever shrinking space.

The people affected by this have nowhere else to go. You look at the faces of children and they look like ghosts. They’re exhausted by years and years of endless war – and many of them have not known any kind of other life. They have lived through more than any human being should already, and we are deeply concerned that the worst could still be to come.

What we have seen time and again in this brutal crisis is that humanitarian infrastructure, especially health facilities, are hit first in an attempt to terrify the civilian population. We can expect that mosques, schools, markets and hospitals – anywhere where people gather – will be hit first in case of an assault.

“All parties need to respect international humanitarian and human rights law – not targeting civilians and allowing unrestricted humanitarian access.

“People here feel betrayed and forgotten by the world. They literally have nowhere else to go, and once the bombs and fighting edge closer they will have nowhere to run to. The international community must not forget the people of Syria and step up their support at this time of crisis.”

Notes to editors

Islamic Relief has been working in Syria since the start of the crisis providing delivering food and medicine to millions of desperate people inside the country, while also working with hundreds of thousands more who have fled to neighbouring countries.