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Letter to the United Nations General Secretary on the Catastrophic Humanitarian Situation and Massive Displacement Wave in North West Syria

Letter to the United Nations General Secretary on the Catastrophic Humanitarian Situation and Massive Displacement Wave in North West Syria

Letter to the United Nations General Secretary on the Catastrophic Humanitarian Situation and Massive Displacement Wave in North West Syria

Dear Mr. Guterres,

We write to you from northwest Syria which is facing a gruesome military attack from the Syrian Regime and its Russian and Iranian allies, killing hundreds of civilians and displacing hundreds of thousands more, combined with massive destruction of infrastructure and residential areas, depopulating whole cities and villages.

In light of these continued attacks and offensive, our appeal for aid and covering the needs would be as giving a critically ill patient in need of a surgery, a painkiller. Amid powerless on the part of the international community, what the area is experiencing seems as there is a green light for the war machine to carry on with impunity claiming the lives of children and innocent people. The international community is doing next to nothing to protect civilians from this vicious attack. The Syrian Regime and its allies are using Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) as an excuse to target civilians in Idlib, where HTS has 3,000 fighters out of 4 million innocent civilians. The civilians are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The deteriorating humanitarian conditions follow increasing reports of violence in the area and heightened concerns for the safety and protection for the over 4 million civilians in north-west Syria, over half of whom are internally displaced, some of them multiple times. Since the start of this wave of displacement on 1 December 2020, over 480,000 civilians displaced from southern Idlib and western Aleppo. The humanitarian response to this displacement crisis has been the shiest since the start of the conflict. IDPs in Idleb are about to die because of the absence of shelter, food, and health care unless immediate and large-scale aid provided. Conditions on the ground further exacerbated by extreme winter weather, including flooding and sub-zero temperatures, rising fuel prices, and the fact that the north is now overpopulated and there is no place to host the newly displaced people.

The cross-border mechanism remains an essential solution in addressing the humanitarian needs of civilians who cannot be reached through cross-line. This mechanism is key to the survival of civilians living in areas outside the control of the Syrian Regime. Non-renewal of the resolution is a worry for humanitarian actors operating in Syria as it would hugely weaken and impede the provision of aid to millions of people in need.

Facts and Figures:
- Some 1,506 civilians killed in the violence since the renewal of hostilities in the de-escalation zone in Idleb and surrounding areas on 29 April 2019 until 15 January, the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) confirmed on 17 January, including 293 women and 433 children.
- This latest wave of people displaced compounds an already dire humanitarian situation as over 400,000 people have already been displaced between the end of April and the end of August 2019, many of them multiple times, worsening levels of vulnerability further in Idleb.
- According to the Syrian Civil Defence, over 60,000 people were displaced in the last 48 hours, while 167,000 people displaced in January 2020.
- IDP camps in northwest Syria are already over-crowded with approximately 1.250,000 IDPs and are unable to receive more IDPs. IDPs in these camps need all types of aid.
- Some 2.7 million in north-west Syria are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including food, shelter, water and sanitation, health, and winterization assistance.

We, therefore, urge you to:
1. Do all that is possible to stop all forms of military aggression on civilians in North West Syria and to put pressure on the Syrian Regime and its allies to stop this attack immediately.
2. UN and OHCHR to start missions and presence in Idlib to protect people, see the people's suffering first-hand to provide much-needed aid.
3. Provide urgent funding for Idleb in the next 2 weeks, and more aid and funding to the Afrin and the Euphrates Shield areas currently considered the safest for IDPs to resort to amidst advancement by the Syrian Regime and its allies to the north of Idlib.

Sincerely,

a. Syrian NGOs Alliance (SNA):
1- Al Sham Humanitarian Foundation
2- Big Heart Foundation
3- Binaa for Development Organization
4- Children of One World Organization
5- Ghiras Al Nahda Organization
6- Hand in Hand for Aid and Development
7- Humanitarian Relief Association – IYD
8- Ihsan Relief and Development
9- MASRRAT Establishment for Human Care and Development
10- Orange Organisation
11- Physicians Across Continents - Turkey
12- Rahma Worldwide - Aid and Development
13- Shafak Organization
14- SKT Organization
15- Social Development International (SDI)
16- Syria Relief - Turkey
17- Syria Relief and Development
18- Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS)
19- Syrian Expatriate Medical Association (SEMA)
20- Takaful Al-Sham Charity
21- Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM)
22- Violet Organization for Relief and Development

b. Syrian Civil Defence
c. North free Doctors Syndicate