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

Featured Stings

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

The importance of exchanges for the medical students of the world

The three sins the EU committed in 2015

Who is responsible for public health? The tendencies and its benefits –or not– on Health Education around the world

For video game addiction, now read official ‘gaming disorder’: World Health Organization

Brexit negotiations: Can May’s Britain bounce back?

France-Germany: Divided in Europe, USA united in…Iran

Technology is delivering better access to financial services. Here’s how

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

How will the EU face the migration crisis when the Turkish threats come true?

Draghi indirectly accuses Germany of using double standards in financial issues

‘Well-being of two million’ in Gaza at stake as emergency fuel runs dry: UN humanitarian coordinator

This AI can predict your personality just by looking at your eyes

G20 LIVE: The European Sting covers online world news and the latest developments at G20 from Antalya Turkey

“The Belt and Road Initiative should be mutually beneficial for EU and China and every participating country”, Vice-President Papadimoulis of the European Parliament underscores from European Business Summit 2018

The Monetary Union drives Europe into dangerous paths, CoR demands an EMU of regional content

Europe’s dirty air kills 400,000 people every year

A Sting Exclusive live from Brussels: Solheim’s consequential visit leading the world and the UN

Trailing the US-EU economic confrontation

Better air pollution data is helping us all breathe easier. Here’s how

Education expenditure in the EU not hurt much by crisis

South Sudan’s foreseen genocide: from “Never Again” to “Again and Again and Again”?

In Finland, speeding tickets are linked to your income

The miserables and the untouchables of the economic crisis

Horse meat runs faster than authorities…

As Saudi women take the wheel, UN chief hopes end of driving ban creates more opportunities for kingdom’s women and girls

A day in the life of a refugee: the role of nations and citizens of the world

EU Commission accuses Germany of obstructing growth and the banking union

Eurozone recession subsides

What have the banks done to the markets making them unable to bear cheap oil?

Banks promise easing of credit conditions in support of the real economy

G20 LIVE: G20 Leaders’ Communiqué Antalya Summit, 15-16 November 2015

Deeper reforms in Germany will ensure more inclusive and sustainable growth

Catalan Pro-Independence vote: how many hits can Brussels sustain at the same time?

A Trumpist squad shook Davos and the world

Where is Egypt leading the Middle East and the Mediterranean economy?

The US bugged Europe: Is this news?

EU-wide rules for safety of drones approved by European Parliament

Migration crisis update: The “Habsburg Empire” comes back to life while EU loses control

It’s Trump’s anti-globalization and inward-looking rhetoric that perturbs GOP and US

Bureaucracy in the member states again the obstacle for long due strong European Hedge Funds

The fat from your next takeaway meal could help clean up global shipping

China is adding a London-sized electric bus fleet every five weeks

Climate change and health: an everyday solution

Act now to end violence, Zeid urges Nicaraguan authorities

Gender equality and medicine in the 21st century: an equity unachieved

US and Mexico child deportations drive extreme violence and trauma: UNICEF

Israel @ MWC14: Israel The Start App Nation

How did Facebook fool the Commission that easily during the WhatsApp acquisition?

This Syrian national has been trapped at Kuala Lumpur airport for 3 months

Draghi: Germany has to spend if Eurozone is to exit recession

Who can compel Wallonia to unlock CETA, the EU-Canada free trade pack?

Cryptocurrency mining could become the new face of energy storage. Here’s how

Switzerland to favour EU citizens in immigration quotas as the risk of a new referendum looms

This is what you need to know about the Iran nuclear deal

OECD sees global growth moderating as uncertainties intensify

Humanitarian visas to avoid refugees’ deaths

Eurozone: There is a remedy for regional convergence

How robotics can help humanitarians bridge the digital divide

CHINA: five letters that could mean…

Eurozone: Economic Sentiment Indicator recovering losses

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