Violence in NE and NW Syria place hundreds of thousands of civilians at risk


Najat Rochdi, Senior Humanitarian Adviser to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria warned on Thursday, November 07, that hundreds of thousands of people in northeast Syria have been left vulnerable following the Turkish military incursion.

“Of the more than 200,000 people who fled the fighting in recent weeks, close to 100,000 people have not yet been able to return home and are dispersed across improvised camps and collective shelters,” she said in a statement.

Noting that victims had come under fire from airstrikes and ground-based strikes, he added that people are increasingly being targeted by the “indiscriminate use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in populated areas, including in local markets”.

Since October 09, at least 92 people have been killed in northern Syria in the weeks following a Turkish invasion targeting Kurdish-held border areas, according to the UN human rights office (OHCHR).Almost daily violence targeting built-up areas and health facilities continues to threaten the lives of civilians there, UN rights experts and humanitarians said on Friday.

“Civilians continue to pay a very high price in the ongoing hostilities in Syria,” said OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville.

The recent displacements have compounded an already dire situation in which 710,000 people were already displaced, and approximately 1.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, Ms. Rochdi’s statement explained.

In Syria’s northwest, meanwhile, medical professionals continue to be at grave risk.

Health facilities “continue to be directly hit or significantly damaged whenever there is a military escalation in Idlib”, OHCHR’s Mr. Colville said.Just this week, “four separate facilities were damaged”, he noted, taking the total number of health facilities that OHCHR has recorded being hit since April 29 to 61.

UN humanitarians meanwhile warned that a serious funding crisis risks leaving hundreds of thousands of Syrians vulnerable to deteriorating weather conditions.

According to OCHA, the UN humanitarian coordinating office, the overall UN appeal requires nearly USD3.3 billion but is only 52 percent funded.

A little over USD1.7 billion has been received; the top donors are the US (USD688 million), Germany (USD262 million), UK (USD148 million), the European Commission (USD99 million) and Canada (USD80 million). (Source: UN News)