Millions at risk if Syria’s war moves to last redoubt of Idlib, warns senior aid official

UNHCR/Andrew McConnell
Manar, 13, sits in a truck that will take her to work a second shift in a nearby potato field, in Fayda tented settlement, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, on 5 June 2014. Manar fled Idlib with her family in 2011.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Aid access to embattled Syrians may soon improve following recent military gains by the Government, but the war “cannot be allowed to go to Idlib”, the head of the UN’s Humanitarian Task Force said on Thursday.

Speaking in Geneva, Jan Egeland confirmed that fighting in the south-west had largely ended and that Syria’s last remaining sieges — in the Shia towns of Foah and Kefraya — have also been lifted.

The potentially positive development means that there should be “no need to negotiate” with the Government of Syria for aid convoy access, the UN Special Adviser said.

Progress should also be quicker because the lorries will no longer have to cross active front lines, he explained.

“Hopefully, we are seeing the beginning of the end to the big war,” he said, adding that “there are signs” the UN and humanitarian partners would finally get access to civilians that they have been trying to reach “for a very long time, and that some of the cruel practices of the war are coming to an end”.

However, the “tremendous worry” is that the conflict will move to Idlib province and other non-government-controlled areas in Syria’s north-west, Egeland cautioned.

“This area is screaming for diplomatic solutions,” he said. “It is yearning for the best diplomats, the best military negotiators to sit down between each other and come to agreements, knowing that there wouldn’t be another Idlib to be evacuated to.”

Idlib and other areas, including Afrin and Azaz, are home to some 4 million people, including 3 million women and children, according to Egeland, who is also Special Adviser to the UN Special Envoy for Syria.

Around 1.4 million of that number have fled from previous conflict hotspots including Aleppo, Eastern Ghouta and the south-west governorates of Dera’a, Sweida and Quneitra.

“A small minority” of those in Idlib “would be seen as terrorists”, Egeland added, but this was “no excuse for sending the war” to women and children.

Insisting that “this is no tsunami” but rather a “man-made crisis from A to Z”, Egeland appealed to the international community to support the “humanitarian lifeline” which helps some 2 million people every month.

“That lifeline has to be expanded because there will be new people in need,” he said. “There is some fighting happening continuously and finally there has to be protection of civilians, including hospitals and others.”

In a bid to prevent further bloodshed after more than seven years of conflict that has claimed hundreds of thousands and lives and forced millions to flee, Egeland said that he hoped that countries with influence on the belligerents will be encouraged to reach a political settlement that would spare Idlib.

He singled out the Russian Federation, Turkey and Iran as having “big influence” in Idlib, as well as Western countries and those Gulf countries who also wield influence with armed opposition groups.

“We will push [them] …to say: learn from Eastern Ghouta, learn from Aleppo, learn from Ar-Raqqa,” Egeland said. “There must be talks, there must be agreements, this war must end not in a bloodbath, but by agreements.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Cheese energy could power hundreds of UK homes

A roadmap for destination management in the digital economy

Top UN official urges Russia and Ukraine to step away from further confrontation at sea

Merkel: Nationalism and egoism must never have a chance again in Europe

Meet the Junior Enterprise network at JEWC 2014!

UK Labour Party leader Corbyn readies to change Brexit political backdrop

Protests, violence in Haiti prompts international call for ‘realistic and lasting solutions’ to crisis

This forgotten chemical element could be the key to our green energy future

These countries are driving global demand for coal

10 months were not enough for the EU to save the environment but 2 days are

Here’s how data could make our cities safer

Can one FTA and 110 lobby meetings make the dirty oil clean in Europe?

Cities will lead the electric transport revolution. Here’s why

New forms of work: deal on measures boosting workers’ rights

The ethical dilemmas of medicine

What next after more sanctions against Russia, will the Ukrainian civil war end?

Want a fairer society? This economist says he has the answer

New UN Global Climate report ‘another strong wake-up call’ over global warming: Guterres

‘Safe Eurobonds’: a new trick to betray the south euro area countries

Algorithms are being used to convict criminals and decide jail time. We need to make sure they are fair

Basel III rules relaxed: Banks got it all but become more prone to crisis

The Brits are not an exception and that’s why they voted to leave

Swedish PM Löfven: “Our common values must guide us to an even better future”

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Women in peacekeeping, the arrest of Sudan’s leader, updates on Libya, Nigeria and Syria

Energy Union: Commission calls on Member States to step up ambition in plans to implement Paris agreement

Further reforms in Japan needed to meet the challenges of population ageing and high public debt

How to build an entrepreneurial university

Central African Republic: UN chief hails signing of new peace agreement

Which country offers the cheapest mobile data?

A revolution, an ecosystem, an ocean: 5G is just the beginning

New UN rights chief pledges to push back on ‘centuries of prejudice and discrimination’

Health conditions for citizens of Yemen’s key port city ‘remain critical’ says UN agency

Human rights ‘core to sustainable development’: deputy UN chief

Malaysia has achieved high levels of growth, but must do more to address governance and social challenges

Obama, Crimea and the TTIP pill

In Marrakech, UN chief urges world leaders to ‘breathe life’ into historic global migration pact

TTIP: why it is worth not to pull the covers over your head?

A long German political winter is on the way

Agreement reached on digital copyright rules

Mental health: a medical school’s demand

‘From farm to plate’, first-ever World Food Safety Day demonstrates the need to take unsafe food off the menu

ECB’s new money bonanza handed out to help the real economy or create new bubbles?

Activist investors are more powerful than ever. Here’s what that means for the economy

Let the Italians have it their way, it may be good for all Eurozone

German political spillovers: ECB’s Draghi resists first attacks by AfD

Brazilian public health system and universality: a forgotten right!

Bill Gates’ top 10 breakthrough technologies of 2019

Do you dare to go to China?

What the world will look like after the Iran and 5+1 deal; the US emerges as major power broker in Middle East

What empty homes and hipster coffee shops tell us about globalization

The ‘abuse of food relief in Yemen’ must end now

Female African coders ‘on the front-line of the battle’ to change gender power relations: UN chief

Is Erdogan losing game and match within and without Turkey?

“A sustainable economy, low-carbon, resource-efficient, resilient and more competitive on the global stage”, EU Commissioner Vella in a Sting Exclusive

What the global Internet’s stakeholders can learn from Europe’s new data law

Chernobyl nuclear disaster-affected areas spring to life, 33 years on

Australia’s record heatwave: From fainting tennis players to dead fish

A new world that demands new doctors in the fourth industrial revolution

Medical students, climate change and health: an unorthodox combination

Warmongers ready to chew what is left of social protection spending

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s