Syria: Hostilities in Idlib should not produce massive civilian suffering
Geneva (ICRC) - A statement from Fabrizzio Carboni, regional director for the Near and Middle East at the International Committee of the Red Cross.
- As fears of renewed violence mount in Syria's Idlib, I am concerned that a further increase in hostilities is bound to turn desperation into misery for large numbers of civilians. Syria has experienced more than seven years of agony, and we fear that renewed fighting in Idlib could produce suffering to rival the human misery seen in Aleppo, Eastern Ghouta and Raqqa. Living conditions for displaced people and host families are already extremely difficult, particularly in makeshift camps, where access to the most basic necessities is insufficient.
- Intensified fighting in the vast Idlib area will put tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people on the move. Civilians who flee, just like civilians who stay, must also be protected from attacks. Those who leave must be allowed access to health care, food, water and sanitation.
- The ICRC calls on all parties to the conflict to protect the wounded and sick, health personnel, humanitarian workers and infrastructure essential for people's survival – medical facilities, schools, water facilities, bakeries and agricultural lands – at all times and in accordance with international humanitarian law. No distinction should ever be made among wounded and sick on any grounds other than medical ones.
- Humanitarian agencies must be able to work. They must be able to reach the affected areas to provide lifesaving aid. Humanitarian aid should be allowed regularly and unconditionally to all those in need.
For further information, please contact:
Eva Pilipp, ICRC Damascus (English, Arabic, German) +963 930 336 718
Sara Alzawqari, ICRC Beirut (English and Arabic) +961 3 138 353
Iolanda Jaquemet, ICRC Geneva (English and French) +41 79 447 37 26