Backed by Russian ground and air-power, Pro Assad militants began their offensive marching towards the city of Mara’t Al Numan capturing a string of villages in the surrounding countryside. Assad intensified his military campaign endeavoring to control M5 highway to reconnect his territorial cities and villages with Turkey borders. After few days of attacks exodus of civilian broke out escaping the hellfire attacks on their towns and villages. Heading towards the outskirts of the overcrowded borders’ camps of the Turkish borders, people were trying to find a safe place to shelter.
Since 15th December, the joint forces implemented a systematic scorched-earth policy against the targeted areas causing a steep increase in the causality figures. An up to end of January statistics shared by observation groups on the ground noted that over the course of the past few weeks an estimated 1.250 airstrikes, 700-barrel bomb attack and 1.500 mortar bombs have been documented so far. According to another local source,
Response Coordination Group (RCG) in northern Syria claimed to have overrun 250.000 civilians had to evacuate their homes since the offensive began. The death toll, on the other hand, doubled with a majority of civilian losses in a deliberate bombardment of civilian inhabitants’ areas and facilities killing in ten days of the offensive 86 civilians.
RCG report documented over than 47 relentless violations against medical facilities, schools, local markets and mosques. The medical facilities in particular have been under fire over multiple courses of military campaigns since April that resulted in destroying 48 hospitals across north Syria and a total of 84 in 2019. According to Mustafa Al-Edo, health deputy director of health minister in Idlib city, an emergency statue has been announced leaving medical staff and ambulances to run and evacuate wounded from attacks sites.
Concerning the ongoing plans aiding the affected civilians, D.Al-Edo said that they are working to increase their team ground capacity efficiency he noted, “we will be adding up extra field medical spots to across northern Syria to following the exodus of overwhelming numbers of patients and wounded,”
Hospital and medical points have been on Assad-Russian top list of targeted spots, hence, medical facilities in the attacker areas of southern-eastern countryside of Idlib, have evacuated their staff, patients and what they could carry off the medical equipment they had. Al-Edo said that they have been already evacuated from patients and medical equipment beforehand “we knew that the attacks were to happen and both Assad and Russia take hospitals down at the beginning to make people suffer more and make the situation more chaos and horrifying.”
Internally displaced under Olive-trees
The overwhelming numbers of internally displaced civilians have become a nightmare for the operating relief groups and organization in north Syria. In spite of the recurrence floods of refugees in northern Syria over the past years, the emergency response has been challenging on the ground and the capacity overrun the NGOs and needs rather state abilities and support to curb the humanitarian catastrophe. One of the main difficulties for the aid NGOs such as Banfasg organiza- tion, are mainly the aerial attacks against relief and aid headquarters and teams on the ground.
The deliberate attacks destroyed so far, according to Abdul Razak Awad, a manager at Violet Organization, two of our centers and killed two of our volunteers whilst doing their rescue work in Marat A Noman in an airstrike. However, Al-Awad explained that “In spite of the risks and obstacles on the ground, NGOs have teamed up on the ground to maximize their impact and facilitate the aid distribution process to reach out, as many people as possible”.
Fighting time and weather hardship conditions, aid groups have been striving to reallocate IDPs in schools, mosques, governmental facilities in Idlib and elsewhere. Al-Awad reiterated that “There is a significant shortage of refugee centers, lack tents, and camps to which are already overcrowded with refugees.”
According to the annual report of the RCG, relief and aid workers 38 victims, were a result of a deliberate attacks while aid workers are rescuing civilians. The U.N Office for the Coordination of humanitarian Affairs said that as a result of the hostilities, more than 235,000 people had fled their homeland between. Dec 12 and 25. Mainly fleeing from the southern rural Idlib where Russian-Syrian forces have been pounding the area with non-stop shelling.
On the same token, Russia and China voted against a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have allowed aid supplies to continue flowing to Idlib. The ramifications of the veto will impact over three million civilians in northern Syria.
The international community ought to stand up to prevent Russia and Assad regime to stop their insurgent and war crimes against north Syria; otherwise, the bloodshed and humanitarian catastrophic magnitude will increase, and people hundreds of thousands will be forced to flee Assad’s terror and end up in displacement dilemma.