Beirut, Lebanon, September 4, 2018 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is calling on the Government of Syria, Russia and its allies to halt attacks in Idlib and continue to pursue diplomatic avenues to prevent hundreds of thousands of civilians becoming caught up in further fighting. The IRC also urges the international community to pressure all those involved in the conflict to suspend any planned assault on the province.
The UN has warned that as many as 800,000 people may flee towards the Turkish border to escape bombardment or military advance in Idlib. The province is home to nearly 3 million civilians, half of them children. Around 1.5 million people in Idlib have been displaced by earlier waves of fighting in Syria, with around 275,000 people living in poor conditions in tented settlements that often lack clean water or toilets.
Lorraine Bramwell, International Rescue Committee’s Syria Country Director, said: “The world is now watching with bated breath to see what unfolds in Idlib. Civilians had been anxiously hoping for world powers to agree a diplomatic solution that could avoid an assault that would put thousands of innocent lives at risk. Many civilians in Idlib have survived intense bombardment or fighting elsewhere in Syria and are rightly terrified about what they may now face.
“There is much that can still be done to keep civilians out of harm’s way in Idlib. The international community must devote its efforts to convince everyone involved to suspend these attacks before they escalate further. The Government of Syria, Russia and its allies need to commit to doing all it can to avoid civilian casualties.”
IRC teams in Idlib have yet to see any civilians displaced by today’s attacks but have two mobile health clinics ready to reach people fleeing in the future. IRC experts are also ready to reach children to help them cope with the stress of displacement as well as ensure vulnerable women and girls are given specialist care. IRC teams are also ready to provide cash support to displaced communities to help them pay for food and other essentials.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.