On January 15 at 2:06 pm Damascus time, a massive airstrike hit the crowded Al-Hal Market in Idlib city killing at least 19 and injuring at least 65 civilians, including many women and children. This new military campaign on Idlib city, which started last week, poses the greatest threat to millions of civilians since the start of the conflict.
“If air strikes continue on the densely packed Idlib city, over a million people could be displaced and forced towards the Turkish border, triggering a global refugee catastrophe. They are trapped with nowhere to run.” Said Dr. Hussam Al Fakir, Chairman of UOSSM International
Last year, the UN counted 82 attacks on medical centers, leaving the medical infrastructure decimated in Idlib and unable to handle another escalation of violence. The winter weather in Idlib is currently near 0 degrees celsius and rainy, exposing hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people to the harsh conditions without adequate shelter.
In the strongest terms, UOSSM condemns today’s attacks against civilians, which constitute a clear war crime. UOSSM demands the international community act immediately to protect millions of civilians from an impending bloodbath, and that they mobilize emergency rations of shelter, food, water and medical care for the underserved population.
- There are over 3.5 million people in the Idlib governate and 1 million people in the densely populated Idlib city.
- In December alone, over 300,000 people were displaced by violence in Maarat Nouman and the Idlib countryside.
- UNICEF estimates that 140,000 children have been displaced into the freezing winter in the past 4 weeks.
- The UN verified 145 attacks on schools and 82 attacks on medical infrastructure (90% in North Western Syria) in 2019.