Concern is growing as the humanitarian situation in north-east Syria continues to deteriorate, says Islamic Relief.
Islamic Relief’s Head of Middle East and North Africa Region, Najat Elhamri, said:
“Islamic Relief is very concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in north-east Syria.
So far more than 300,000 people have reportedly been displaced and fears are high that more families will be forced to flee, just as the often-bitter winter months start to bite.
“Many of those who have fled are living in makeshift shelters that are not equipped to deal with the cold and often wet weather. They have little access to medical facilities and services and there are particular concerns about the disruption to water supplies in the region that could lead to outbreaks of infectious disease such as diarrhoea and typhoid.
“To make things worse, because of the years and years of unrelenting crisis that have plagued Syria, many of those fleeing have been displaced before and children are once again being uprooted, pulled out of school and Syrian families left feeling uncertain and fearful about their future.
“Across the country there are more than 6 million people who have been internally displaced and simply do not know if or when they will be able to return and what they will find there when they do eventually go back.
“This constant anxiety also extends well beyond Syria’s borders where more than five million refugees are still displaced across the region and unable to rebuild their lives because of the ongoing crisis that has been raging for almost nine years.
“Islamic Relief does not operate in north-east Syria, but we run significant operations in the country’s north-west and assist refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq.
“We are providing food, shelter and medicine to hundreds of thousands of people in Idlib and also supporting some 70 medical facilities, many of which come under regular attack. We are monitoring the situation in the north-east very carefully and coordinating with other aid groups on the ground.
“We urge all parties to fulfil their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law and refrain from targeting civilians and humanitarian workers, as well as to exercise restraint in order to protect water supplies, health facilities, schools and camps for displaced people.
“We also call on the UN Security Council to renew Resolution 2165 to facilitate the provision of humanitarian aid in northern Syria to ensure that aid organisations can continue to get life-saving supplies to millions of civilians in desperate need.”