Syrian charities call for emergency resumption of UN aid to Idlib amid humanitarian catastrophe

Syrian charities call for emergency resumption of UN aid to Idlib amid humanitarian catastrophe
Representatives of 17 charities have met in Syria’s Idlib province to call for the UN to continue deliveries of aid despite a Russian and Chinese veto.
3 min read
08 January, 2020
Syrian children are living through harsh winter conditions [Getty]

Seventeen Syrian and international charities have called for an emergency humanitarian corridor linking Syria’s Idlib province to Turkey to be set up and for an end to the targeting of civilians in the rebel-held area.

On December 20, Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution which would have allowed cross-border aid deliveries to Syria to continue for twelve months from two crossing points in Turkey and one in Iraq.

The Russian and Chinese vetoes mean that cross-border UN aid will cease to be delivered to civilians in Idlib by the end of January 2020.

Deputy UN aid chief Ursula Mueller previously said that without cross-border operations “we would see an immediate end of aid supporting millions of civilians [which] would cause a rapid increase in hunger and disease, resulting in death, suffering, and further displacement.”

Representatives of the 17 charities met in the Hasada refugee camp in the village of Zardana in Idlib province. The charities included the Violet Organization, the Syrian Civil Defence, and MedGlobal.

They called for the United Nations to continue cross-border aid deliveries, saying that 300,000 people -mostly women and children - had been displaced from their homes in Idlib.

Mohammed Jandali, from the Turkish charity IHH, told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service that 362,000 people had left their homes and were living in harsh winter conditions.

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“As humanitarian organizations working in all sectors, from the US, Turkey, and Syria, we call for reason to prevail and the renewal of the international resolutions which allowed for aid to enter across borders and be provided to those who need it most”, he said.

The aid organizations emphasised that the regime and Russia had targeted hospitals in Idlib and put most of them out of service. They also called for Turkey to open its borders to refugees.

Zaher Sahloul, the head of the charity MedGlobal said, “We’re talking about the displacement of 355,000 people in three weeks, most of them women and children. They have no shelter, no food, no protection, and no medical care.”

He added that the situation would get much worse if the international community failed to provide aid to the displaced people.

Russia and the Syrian regime have been bombing Idlib province since April 2019, in violation of a September 2018 de-escalation agreement guaranteed by Iran, Turkey, and Russia itself. Thousands of people have been killed and over 700,000 displaced since then.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to discuss the humanitarian situation in Idlib province again on 10 January.

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