Syrians Continue To Flee Idlib Amid Escalating Air Strikes

Thousands of Syrians have continued to flee Idlib to the Turkish border following deadly air-strikes and bombing in major rebel-held territory Syria’s by Russia-backed government forces. Based on Al Jazeera, at least 25,000 have displaced the region toward the Turkish border for escaping severely bombardment. The humanitarian conditions in the makeshift camp near the Turkish border have been described as “catastrophic” where majority of Syrian people are living with rampant hunger as well as a lack of proper sanitation and medication. The United Nations has urged for an “immediate de-escalation” between the Syria government and rebel groups.

Syria has descended into a prolong and fierce civil war between government and rebel-group over the high rate of unemployment, corruption and lack of political freedom under the governance of President Bashar al-Assad. Since 2011, pro-democracy has far-fledged nationwide following the influence of Arab-Spring. According to BBC News, “The violence in Syria has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, and the war has left 1.5 million people with permanent disabilities.” Last year, a ceasefire was reached between Russia and Turkey to put Idlib as a de-escalation zone and prohibit aggression, but the agreement was not adhered to. UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights stated, “more than 1,000 civilian casualties in the north-western Syria since April as a result of hostilities between pro-government and opposition forces.”

Since civil war erupted in 2011, Turkey had hosted approximately 3.7 million Syrian refugees, one of the largest exoduses in history. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 5,262 civilians have died including 246 children, and about 400,000 civilians were forced to flee towards the Turkish border. Turkish President Recep Erdogan stated “If the atrocity against the people doesn’t end, this number will increase.” The number of Syrian refugees relentlessly magnifies due to the inevitably incursion from the government and rebel groups. Turkey recently has notified Syrian government that it will be unable to handle the influx of refugees on its own, and that a new wave would be felt by European countries, particularly Greece.

The bombardment has been heightened, with civilians being indiscriminately attacked. Based on Al Jazeera ‘s report, “Russian-backed Syrian government bombings include air raids, shelling and barrel bomb attacks in the town of Maarat el-Numan in Southern Idlib.” The outrageous attack led to mass evacuation as Syrian government forces have dominated parts of Southern and Eastern Idlib which move the rebel groups on the brink of war and conflict. According to United Nations, the surrounding area of Idlib were empty as a result of the displacement campaign since its outburst in April. On the contrary, Moscow and Damascus deliberately withheld the public allegation of indiscriminate bombing of Syrian innocent civilian by asserting that they are fighting al Qaeda religious fighters.

The offensive and aggressive assault led hundreds of Syrian citizens in Idlib onto the streets to denounce a halt to bombardment. However, there is no effective solutions from the international community since the air-strike first break out in August. As the humanitarian situation in Syrian drastically deteriorates, the UN Security Council has failed to issue a resolution that would continue to deliver and distribute humanitarian aid to more than a million of Syrians in rebel-held areas. Recently, a resolution that supported by Germany, Belgium and Kuwait in principle to extend the mandate for deliveries by six months was vetoed by Russia and China. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated, “the United Nations doesn’t have an alternative means of reaching people in need in the areas in which cross-border assistance is being provided.” The humanitarian situation in Syria is desperate and will be all the more horrific if the cross-border aid will no longer be provided without alternative measures for Syrian refugees. Therefore, the refugee crisis in Syria can’t be overlooked and the international community must work together to continue the provision of both financial and technical assistance to those Syrian’s civilians fleeing to the Turkish border to ensure that they can obtain enough food, shelter and healthcare for their survival.