GCHRJ Warns Humanitarian Disaster Threatens Idlib


GENEVA – Geneva Council for Human Rights and Justice issued on Friday, a warning to the international community of a dangerous humanitarian catastrophe that threatens the Syrian province of Idlib as the regime’s forces approach an attack in the province, which already suffers a crisis in its health sector and displacement camps.
The council warned in a press statement that the Syrian forces sent military reinforcements for weeks in towards Idlib in the northwest in preparation for an attack on the region, which is under the control of the Sham Liberation Organization (formerly the Nasra Front) and also has various opposition factions.
GCHRJ warned that the worst scenario in Idlib creates a humanitarian emergency at a level that has not been witnessed before in Syria, especially as the governorate is overcrowded and suffers from a severe shortage of basic services, especially in the health sector.
In addition to the displaced, Idlib has recently turned into a refuge for tens of thousands of fighters and civilians forced to leave areas controlled by opposition under evacuation agreements with regime forces.
GCHRJ expressed its fear that the offensive by the regime’s forces would lead to a new wave of internal displacement and, as the most important faction stronghold, those fleeing the fighting would not have much to navigate and would often resort to the northern border region with Turkey.
The Council expressed its fear that the attack would lead to a new wave of internal displacement as Idlib is the last haven for Syria’s fractured armed opposition, which this year alone lost key bastions near Damascus and in the south. As a result, thousands if not more would rush to the border with Turkey to seek safety.
“International attention must be paid to the growing danger of a humanitarian disaster in the event of a large-scale military operation in Idlib, which would hinder the humanitarian operations”, it added.
The Human Rights Council also warned of the fear of medical facilities, especially that Syria is according to the United Nations is “the worst place in modern history in terms of attacks on the health sector.” During the years of the conflict, dozens of hospitals, clinics, ambulances and others, were also destroyed. Idlib also had its share.
According to the World Health Organization, “less than half of the public health facilities that existed formerly are still operating in areas that may soon see an increase in violence.”.
GCHRJ said the remaining facilities in Idlib were not properly prepared to cope with a large number of patients, and any attack would aggravate an already deteriorating situation.
If the humanitarian situation worsens, the fate of Idlib’s residents will remain dependent on the possibility of sustained delivery of aid, which the UN and humanitarian organizations routinely send monthly through Turkey.
Idlib is primarily dependent on cross-border assistance and represents a lifeline for the population in terms of food supplies and other essential items for daily life.
GCHRJ warned that if the borders crossings between Syria and Turkey were closed, hundreds of thousands of Idlib’s population would be affected by the probability that the fight in the province would lead to some 800,000 people displaced.
The Human Rights Council called for an urgent international action to avoid the attack on Idlib that would certainly worsen the miserable situation.

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