Thousands risk lives fleeing fighting in Syria’s last ISIL stronghold

UNICEF/ Aaref Watad Girls sit in the tent of a makeshift camp in the north of Syria. 2018

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

North-east Syria is seeing increasing numbers of civilian casualties and large-scale displacement amid intensifying efforts to defeat extremists from ISIL, otherwise known as Da’esh, in Deir-ez-Zor governorate, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, spokesperson Andrej Mahecic warned that, in recent months, clashes and airstrikes in the eastern governorate’s Hajin enclave – once part of an ISIL stronghold straddling the Syria and Iraq border – have forced tens of thousands of people to flee northwards in search of safety.

“Over the past six months more than 25,000 people have been displaced in that part of the country, said Mr. Mahecic. ‘We have seen an increase, especially with the escalation that has occurred in the course of December.”

Babies are among the dead, ‘too weak to survive’

Those at risk include “many” women, children and the elderly, the UN official said, adding that many families reaching the safety of Al Hol refugee camp in north-east Syria near the border with Iraq had risked their lives to do so. “The dangerous and difficult journey and the conditions inside the enclave are reported to have led to the deaths of six children – all under 12 months.  Most died after arriving at Al Hol, too weak to survive,” the UN spokesperson explained.

Emergency health teams in the camp are tending to “wounds, amputated limbs, injuries and frostbite”, Mr. Mahecic continued, before adding that some of those fleeing the fighting had spent “four nights or more” in the desert, in heavy rain and cold weather, with barely any belongings. “People coming out of the conflict zone do also have wounds that have been inflicted. We also know that many of them tell us that they have been targeted while they were fleeing.”

Urging all parties “and those with influence over them” to ensure freedom of movement and safe passage for displaced families, the UNHCR spokesperson explained that the crisis is far from over.

“This is still going on and people are arriving daily,” Mr. Mahecic said. “Through the desert, trying to move through the different checkpoints and reach safety in the camps and other areas outside the conflict zone.”

Together with its partners, UNHCR teams inside Syria prioritize protection for unaccompanied or separated children, while also identifying and helping those in need of medical assistance. Tents and other essential relief items are provided to new arrivals, while communal facilities are being scaled up to prepare for an expected increase of arrivals from Hajin.

“It’s estimated right now that 2,000 people remain in the conflict-affected area of Hajin,” Mr. Mahecic explained. “Those fleeing report increasingly desperate conditions, with diminishing services and extremely high prices for basic foods. We are worried for civilians who continue to be trapped in ISIL-held areas.”

the sting Milestone

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

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ford trumpets new in-vehicle system, “fundamentally rethinks” transportation

Mental health and suicide prevention: why focus on primary care

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “We need more Schengen but reinforce control!”, France’s Minister of Economy Emmanuel Macron emphasises from Davos

Coronavirus: Commission receives first preliminary application for support from the EU Solidarity Fund for health emergency from Italy

Thousands of health professionals call on world leaders to prioritize a greener future, post-pandemic

ECB doesn’t dare touch Eurozone’s big banks

Anti-vaccination: a private choice leading to collective outcomes

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: The fruits of sustainability and decent work

3 megatrends for the factories of the future

Russia won’t let Ukraine drift westwards in one piece

A silent killer: the impact of a changing climate on health

Mental Health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

DR Congo: Strengthened effort against Ebola is paying off, but insecurity still major constraint – UN health agency

New roadmap toward healthier and cleaner oceans adopted by UN Environment and European Commission

The ethics of the Medical Technology Civilisation era

What makes America the world’s most competitive economy?

EU-Turkey relations: Will Turkey manage to revive the EU accession process talks?

Food system failures in our age of abundance

This NATO experiment used fake Facebook accounts to trick soldiers into sharing sensitive information

How Leonardo da Vinci’s outsider status made him a Renaissance man

Here’s how data could make our cities safer

EU-UK future relations: “level playing field” crucial to ensure fair competition

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wins Nobel Peace Prize

Turkey’s foreign bribery enforcement framework needs to be urgently strengthened and corporate liability legislation reformed

Step up action to protect the planet during wartime: UN environment chief

The US starts an intense currency war to protect its global standing

UN launches drive to highlight environmental cost of staying fashionable

UN working ‘intensively’ to stop Ebola in eastern DR Congo, following second case in major border town

Somalia: UN mission head condemns deadly terrorist attacks in Mogadishu, Galkayo

In polarized America, a new divide looms

How fungi could save the world

We have a chance to build the gender-equal workplaces of the future. Here’s how

Inclusion and diversity isn’t just good for employees – it’s good for the bottom line

When did globalization begin? The answer might surprise you

How cities can become more resilient to climate change

On technology and medical ethics

Finnish Prime Minister calls for a more united EU of concrete actions

Students & Allies Unite Globally To Launch #Students_Against_COVID

Drastic deterioration in security across Burkina Faso as 70,000 flee their homes in past two months, UN warns

‘Eden bonds’: how rewilding could save the climate and your pension

For the future of Europe youth remains a priority

FROM THE FIELD: One teen’s journey from refugee camp to US school principal

UK voters sent strong message to May and Corbyn for soft Brexit

ITU Telecom World Awards launches 2018 edition

Do not confuse food charity with ‘right to food’, UN expert tells Italians, labelling food system exploitative

Nearly two-thirds of children lack access to welfare safety net, risking ‘vicious cycle of poverty’

Car clocking: MEPs call for new legislation to combat odometer fraud

How to turn Africa’s manufacturing sector into a high-tech powerhouse

Coronavirus has shown us why we urgently need to make a basic income a reality

The time for cities to get smart is now

This young activist explains how to change the world in 3 steps

How the world can gear up for the fight against cancer

Brexit: reciprocal visa-free access for EU and UK nationals

Coronavirus: the truth against the myths

OECD welcomes French plans to increase and better target foreign aid

Commission calls on Leaders to pave the way for an agreement on a modern, balanced and fair EU budget for the future

ECB’s first flight in Eurozone’s banking universe will be just a reconnaissance

Afghanistan: Civilian casualties caused by IEDs has reached ‘extreme levels’, UN warns

Bacterial resistance: the significant worldwide problem

Microplastic and nanoplastic pollution threatens our enviroment. How should we respond?

More Stings?

Advertising

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