A Statement Regarding the Military Escalation in North West Syria
Over 69 civilians were killed and 82 more were wounded, in addition to more than 150 thousand were displaced, including 11000 students as a result of the recent military escalation, which was launched on April 26 by the Government of Syria (GoS) and Government of Russia (GoR) against the southern Idlib and the northern Hama countryside.
89 sites were targeted by warplanes, 49 sites were targeted by helicopters and 88 points were targeted by artillery. The majority of targeted areas are located in the demilitarized zone agreed between the guarantor states (Russia and Turkey) in the northern Hama and southern Idlib countryside. Airstrikes also targeted Khan Al Asal area in the western Aleppo countryside.
During the airstrikes, a number of humanitarians, medical, educational and service-related facilities were targeted in addition to centers of the Syrian Civil Defense. Many of these facilities became out of service due to substantial physical damage. Direct bombardment put the Civil Defense Centers in Qal’at Al Madeeq and Kafarnabouda out of service. Furthermore, at least 24 schools were targeted.
Twelve health facilities, including six hospitals and six health centres, were targeted, even though five of the targeted facilities were co-located with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as part of the deconfliction mechanism which aims to neutralize humanitarian facilities and protect them from military targeting by the GoS and its allies. As a result of the bombardment, dozens of medical facilities started operating at low capacity, receiving only victims of the military escalation and other critical cases. In addition, mobile clinics are unable to reach the newly displaced population due to the risk of airstrikes.
This military escalation affects the work of humanitarian teams in the field, placing them at risk and restricting their access to injured and displaced civilians living in extremely precarious humanitarian conditions. Many IDPs have taken refuge in the fields and have no access to food, water, shelter or health care.
Since the Sochi Agreement entered into force in September 2018, Russian warplanes have committed several massacres against civilians in the provinces of Idlib, Aleppo and Hama. The attacks intensified in May, particularly since the last round of Astana which was held in early May.
Therefore, we, the undersigned organizations, demand the United Nations and the guarantors of the Astana process to assume their responsibility with regards to the following:
- Commitment to the de-escalation agreement in north-west Syria
- An immediate cease-fire in the demilitarized zone
- Take prompt and effective action to protect and ensure the safety of more than 4 million civilians living in North West Syria
- Ensure the complete protection and neutralization of humanitarian relief workers, public facilities, hospitals, schools and infrastructure
- Investigate violations of international law, such as targeting health and educational facilities that have been neutralized and their coordinates were shared under the UN deconfliction mechanism.
The Syrian NGO Alliance Represented in:
- Union of Relief and Medical Care Organizations - UOSSM
- Syrian American Medical Society - SAMS
- Syrian Expatriate Medical Association - SEMA
- Social Development International - SDI
- Masrrat Establishment For Human Care and Development
- Ihsan for Relief and Development - IRD
- Physicians Across Continents - PAC
- Syria Relief and Development - SRD
- Ghiras Al Nahda
- Children of One World
- Orange Organization
- Violet Organization for Relief and Development
- Takaful Al Sham Charity Organization
- Shafak Organization
- Al Sham Humanitarian Foundation - AHF
- Big Heart Foundation
- Binaa Organization for Development
- Rahma Relief Foundation
- SKT Organization
- Syria Relief-SR
- Hand In Hand for Aid & Development