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

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

How to keep our cities cool as temperatures rise

7 ways the ‘biological century’ will transform healthcare

EU to relocate 40,000 migrants across the bloc: first step of a long due substantial reform?

UN Forum examines three pillars of 2030 Global Goals

Office workers in these economies clock up the most extra hours

UN Security Council offers Yemen Special Envoy ‘their full support’

Ramped-up emergency preparedness, part of ‘changing the DNA’ of the UN’s health agency

Capital markets selloff: The financial moguls send messages to monetary authorities

Somalis ‘will not be deterred’ by Friday’s terror attacks – UN chief

The Europeans back Russia-Turkey on Syria: A ‘Waterloo’ for Saudis and their Crown Prince

The 28 EU leaders unable to start a relevant debate on migration and Brexit

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

Can the EU really make Google and Facebook pay publishers and media?

‘Global trust’ declining, ‘our world needs stepped-up global leadership’

Monsoon rains turn millions of children’s lives ‘upside down’ across South Asia

Main results of EU Environment Council, 25/06/2018

Look Mom, even the House of Lords says the #righttobeforgotten is not right

Brexit: With May gone the Tory divide is to sink the UK despite Brits wanting to ‘Remain’

4 myths about manufacturing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Europe’s forests are booming. Here’s why.

How ducks are helping Bangladeshi farmers cope with cyclones

High internet taxes are restricting access and slowing economic growth

Governments must act to help struggling middle class

‘Bleakest period yet’ in Occupied Palestinian Territory: UN human rights expert

We need to bin disposable items for good. Here are 5 ways to do it

Breaking news on European Youth Employment: European Youth Forum Guide tackles poor quality internships!

This is the state of the world’s health, in numbers

Christmas spending: Who can afford not to cut?

New rules for short-stay visas: EP and Council reach a deal

EU budget 2019 approved: focus on the young, innovation and migration

Is a deal over EU budget possible today?

International Day of Cooperatives sets stage for long-standing production and consumption

Waste-free consumption: 3 reasons why cities will lead

Is there a cure for corruption in Greece?

At UN forum, Asia-Pacific countries highlight importance of transport for sustainable development

What does reimagining our energy system look like?

Investing in rural women and girls, ‘essential’ for everyone’s future: UN chief

African economies sustain progress in domestic resource mobilisation

Draghi proposes timeframe for full Banking Union in five years

Eurozone stuck in a high risk deflation area; Draghi expects further price plunge

Syria: UN chief welcomes first aid convoy to Rukban camp since January, joint agency operation assists 50,000

Predatory labour taxation not an issue for the Commission

Killing of Egyptian peacekeeper in Mali ‘may constitute war crimes’ Guterres warns, urging ‘swift action’

Cambodia: Giving back to UN peacekeeping

The EU learns about fishing and banking from tiny Iceland

The EU stops being soft with 10 Downing Street about Brexit

Joint UN, OSCE engagement can address crisis in Ukraine, other ‘dark spots of conflict’ in Europe

Facts and prejudices about work

We need to talk about failure in the social sector

Germany and Europe prepare for Trump’s America

‘We cannot lose momentum’ on the road to peace in Yemen, UN envoy warns

European Commission: the LED lights of your Audi A6 shall save our planet

UN condemns ‘heinous’ suicide attack on education centre in Afghanistan

90% of European Jews say antisemitism is getting worse

ECB: Monetary policy decisions

At last Germany to negotiate the costs for a really cohesive Eurozone

A free press is ‘cornerstone’ for accountability and ‘speaking truth to power’: Guterres

Europe again the black sheep at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

UN chief appoints Luis Alfonso de Alba as Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit

These are the world’s best universities by subject

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