Further escalation in Idlib, Syria over the past ten days has left at least 84 people reportedly killed and 173 injured, in addition to tens of thousands of people leaving their homes towards the Turkish border, in what is the biggest movement of people since September this year.

Early on Christmas Eve, a camp for displaced people near Idlib was hit by airstrikes resulting in 10 dead and 7 injured, many of them women and children; which was followed by a UN negotiated six hour pause in airstrikes until 6pm protecting the major highways. Over 130,000 people are facing harsh wintery conditions fleeing to safer locations in the north of the country. Many of these safe havens are offering services which are already stretched to the limit.

These newly displaced people add to the over 400,000 that have already lost their homes or shelter as a result of hostilities since the end of April, many of them multiple times. Many of those fleeing have reported that they have not eaten or slept for days due to the frequency of attacks and are in dire need of safe shelter, food, medical aid and the means to get through a harsh winter in Syria, including adequate fuel for cooking and heating.

Islamic Relief is on the ground, despite a precarious situation for everyone in the Idlib region, even aid agencies. Islamic Relief’s head of mission for Syria, Ahmed Mahmoud is concerned of the ever growing constraints facing organisations working in the region.

“Several aid agencies have been forced to suspend operations in southern Idlib, while others are considering this option should the current insecurity persist or deteriorate further. This will only further deteriorate the support we can collectively give to the hundreds of thousands of people that are continually facing the loss of their homes.”

Islamic Relief is already responding with medical aid in areas where displaced men, women and children are seeking shelter and safety.

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Notes for editor

For interviews with Ahmed Mahmoud, Head of Mission, Syria for Islamic Relief Worldwide, please contact:

Simona French – simona.french@irworldwide.org, +44 7784 219 511

Manal Ameer – manal.ameer@irworldwide.org, +44 7742 404 114

On average in 2019, 4658 people have been displaced per day (up till 22nd December), leaving 194 people displaced per hour in 2019. (Data Sources: CCCM, HNAP and OCHA Syria).

Islamic Relief has been working in Syria for the during of the crisis, since 2011 providing food, shelter, warm clothing, water and sanitation and health care to over four million people in the country, including in besieged and hard to reach areas. We are also providing support to enable medical centres, ambulances and bakeries to continue to operate.