Aid agencies say attack on Idlib would result in a humanitarian catastrophe

By agency reporter
September 5, 2018

Following claims that Syrian government forces are preparing an attack on Idlib, aid agencies CAFOD and SCIAF have joined calls damning an attack which would cause vast human suffering for the millions of civilians trapped in the region.   

Seven years on from the beginning of the Syrian conflict, government forces have reclaimed most of Syria but according to a UN estimate, the disputed region of Idlib holds three million people.

Ahead of talks in Astana, to be hosted by Iran on 7 September 2018, many voices within the international community are warning against attacking rebel-held Idlib province.

Alan Thomlinson, Emergency Programme Manager for the CAFOD and SCIAF Joint Programme for the Syria Crisis, warns that an attack would undoubtedly risk many civilians’ lives. He said: “An attack on the Idlib province would risk many civilians’ lives, lead to further displacement of potentially hundreds of thousands of people and continue the suffering of the Syrian people who have already witnessed seven years of bloody conflict.

“The situation in Idlib remains very complex – but respect for humanitarian law and the protection of civilians must remain paramount.

“The Syrian conflict and any lasting peace will only be achieved by a negotiated settlement. This is the only way to prevent immense human suffering and ensure the safety and protection of civilians trapped in the region.”

* CAFOD is the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development

* SCIAF is the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund


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