An intensification of air strikes and fighting around civilian areas in both the north and south of Syria, in addition to sky-rocketing prices in besieged areas leaving tens of thousands at risk of malnutrition, are undermining the commitments made at last week’s Syria conference in London to help improve the lives of Syrians, warns the International Rescue Committee, which is responding to the increased displacement.

Close to 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes to escape air-strikes in Syria since the beginning of the month. Nearly, 42,000 people have fled northern Aleppo, with the majority heading to the Turkish border, and up to 50,000 people are estimated to have escaped air strikes in Dara’a province by fleeing into the countryside or towards the Jordanian border. More than a thousand have also fled their homes in the north Syrian province of Lattakia.

David Miliband, President of the IRC, said: “That nearly 100,000 have fled their homes less than a week since world leaders pledged over $10 billion to support humanitarian efforts is making a mockery of the international community’s commitment to help Syrians. The severe disregard for the safety of civilians leaves Syrians no choice but to flee for their lives.”

“IRC aid workers in northern Syria have told me that they know of least two infant deaths due to malnutrition and the cold at the border. These airstrikes even left some of our staff with no choice but to sleep rough for several nights, but many have it far worse. Syrians are in desperate need of shelter, water, food, blankets and clothes."

In addition to the impact of airstrikes, many are facing severe malnutrition because of ongoing sieges across the country. An IRC assessment* of food prices in Daraya found that over the past six weeks the price for a kilogram of rice has jumped by 1,344%, a kilogram of sugar by more than 622% and a litre of cooking oil by 483%. The tightening of the siege around the Damascus suburb has made it harder to get in supplies and the winter conditions have affected food production.

The IRC is stepping up its humanitarian response in the northern Syrian town of Azaz to help vulnerable Syrians who have fled the recent fighting around Aleppo but are being denied permission to cross into Turkey.

The IRC is providing clean drinking water and sanitation at a camp for displaced people, which has seen numbers increase from 3,400 to around 5,000 people in recent days, leaving the camp unable to cope with any more arrivals. In addition, the IRC will distribute thousands of ‘dignity’ kits for vulnerable women, containing essential basic items such as soap, sanitary towels, blankets, and spare clothes. The IRC also runs two centres in Azaz, helping women and children, and through partners is continuing to support a hospital and three primary health centres in Aleppo.

Aerial bombardments in Lattakia, northern Syria, forced IRC health partners on Saturday 30 Jan to temporarily close down a health centre providing critical and lifesaving support to 3,000 people each month. In southern Syria, the IRC has had to evacuate or stop supporting three health facilities in the last two weeks due to rapidly shifting front lines and air attacks.

The IRC has been delivering vital aid to those affected by the Syria conflict, which enters its sixth year next month, inside Syria and across the region since 2012. Last year we provided lifesaving assistance to nearly 900,000 people in northern Syria.


* An IRC assessment of food prices in the Damascus suburb of Daraya found that since the tightening of the siege the for rice has jumped by 1,344% from 450 SYP ($2.4) to 6,500 SYP per kilogram ($34). Sugar has jumped up by more than 622% from 900 SYP ($4.8) to 6,500 SYP ($34) per kilogram, and cooking oil has jumped by nearly 483% from 1,200 SYP ($6.4) to 7,000 SYP ($37) per litre.

 An earlier IRC study in December found prices in Daraya were already considerably higher than in a comparable non-besieged town, with rice 26% higher (compared to 357 SYP). Cooking oil 141% higher (compared to 497 SYP) and sugar 264% higher (compared to 247 SYP).