Conditions in northwest Syria 'at crisis point', aid groups say

Conditions in northwest Syria 'at crisis point', aid groups say
Bashar al Assad

Dozens of international aid groups have warned that humanitarian conditions in Syria's north west have reached a new "crisis point", as government troops push to retake the rebels' last stronghold.

The violence has effectively shattered a ceasefire negotiated by Russia and Turkey, in place since September. Russia has firmly backed President Bashar al Assad's government in the eight-year civil war, while Turkey has supported rebel factions.

In their appeal, 70 aid groups called for an immediate end to the fighting. They said the violence has displaced an estimated 180,000 people in the last two weeks alone.

The rebel enclave, which stretches between northern Hama and most of Idlib provinces, is home to three million people.

The violence has forced at least 16 humanitarian organisations to suspend their operations in the region, the groups added. The staff were either displaced themselves or the facilities came under attack.

Physicians for Human Rights said it has verified that over the last four weeks Syrian government forces and their Russian allies have carried out nine attacks on hospitals and medical facilities.

The aid groups said at least 15 health facilities and 16 schools were reported to have been significantly damaged or destroyed. At least two health workers were killed.

The groups said at least four clearly identified humanitarian posts were targeted, and condemned the "failure" to observe international law.

In a statement, Amnesty International called on the UN Security Council to pressure Moscow over the "deliberate" targeting of health and education facilities and to end the "onslaught" against civilians.

"Bombing hospitals carrying out their medical functions is a war crime," said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's director of research for the Middle East. She said it was part of a "well-established" pattern by the Syrian government and its allies.

"The international community has so far utterly failed to protect civilians in Syria from the horrors of this conflict," she said.

Staff from four hospitals in Idlib and Hama told Amnesty International they had been targeted despite sharing their co-ordinates with the Syrian and Russian governments.

In fighting on Friday, activists and insurgents said government forces attempted to push into a new village in western Hama but were repelled.

- Press Associaiton

More on this topic

Syrian air force responsible for chemical attacks, says watchdogSyrian air force responsible for chemical attacks, says watchdog

UN chief says initial coronavirus cases in Syria just ‘tip of the iceberg’UN chief says initial coronavirus cases in Syria just ‘tip of the iceberg’

Assad predicts total victory after gains in northern SyriaAssad predicts total victory after gains in northern Syria

Dublin footballer Michael Darragh Macauley calls for action to help Syrian refugees after Iraq visit Dublin footballer Michael Darragh Macauley calls for action to help Syrian refugees after Iraq visit


More in this Section

Venice puts inflatable flood barriers to the testVenice puts inflatable flood barriers to the test

Seoul mayor’s death prompts sympathy as well as questions over his behaviourSeoul mayor’s death prompts sympathy as well as questions over his behaviour

Donald Trump to take re-election campaign back on roadDonald Trump to take re-election campaign back on road

France to rebuild Notre Dame in its former likenessFrance to rebuild Notre Dame in its former likeness


Lifestyle

Eve Kelliher explores temples of Zoom to get verdict on relocation from boardroom to spare roomWhat we've learned from world's biggest remote working experiment

As those of us who love to have friends round are tentatively sending out invitations, we’re also trying to find a workable balance with necessary social distancing rules, writes Carol O’CallaghanTable manners: How to entertain at home post-lockdown

Helen O’Callaghan says asthma sufferers need to watch pollen levelsBreathe easy: Pollen tracker protects asthma sufferers

Testosterone levels drop by 1% a year after the age of 30, so should all middle-aged men be considering hormone replacement therapy to boost their mood and libido? asks Marjorie BrennanHow male hormone deficiency can impact both mood and libido

More From The Irish Examiner