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Exodus to the unknown increases the responsibilities of organizations operating in Idlib

Displacement of people from areas of Jabal Zawiya and Ariha to relatively safe areas in northern Syrian, 29 January 2020 (Enab Baladi)

Displacement of people from areas of Jabal Zawiya and Ariha to relatively safe areas in northern Syrian, 29 January 2020 (Enab Baladi)

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Enab Baladi – Saleh Malas

Umm Qasim painfully described to Enab Baladi her forced displacement from Shemoun town, in the southern countryside of Idlib. Her displacement to the unknown deprived her and her family of the right to live without missile strikes from the Syrian regime’s planes and its allies.

Umm Qasim was not the only one who had to leave her house. The attack by the Syrian regime forces on towns south of Idlib resulted in intermittent waves of a mass exodus of the people of the region who have burdened the curse of internal displacement again amid geography floating in conflicts.

On January 28, the Syrians’ attention turned to the north of Idlib,  after the regime forces took control of areas in the south of the governorate, especially Maarat al-Numan, waiting for a new military step for the regime.

Since the beginning of this year, northwestern Syria has witnessed the displacement of 28,852 families, with a total of 167,131 people, according to a statement issued, on January 28, by the “Syria Response Coordinators” team through its official Facebook page.

In addition to the deterioration in the Syrian Pound’s value, prices have increased in the region, which has led to more burdens on the displaced, and their inability to bear the costs of essential goods and services, thus exacerbating the living situation and dependence on humanitarian aid by relief organizations.

The Syria Response Coordinator team manager, Muhammad Hallaj, told Enab Baladi that the frequent displacement had become not only an international disaster but also local, which requires widespread intervention to ensure the provision of the humanitarian needs of the new IDPs.

Winter conditions further aggravate the vulnerability of the displaced, and many who have fled due to the aerial bombardment need shelter, heating and adequate nutrition.

Muhammad Hallaj believes that the responses by the organizations concerned in supporting the relief situation in northwest Idlib do not meet the displaced people’s needs.

Hallaj noted that limiting relief work, today, to providing some aid to the displaced, loses its importance, believing that there is a great responsibility on the concerned organizations to improve the infrastructure of the areas of displacement and to rebuild the destroyed shelters.

Relief organizations, according to Hallaj, also have to find solutions to health problems that force many cases to go to Turkey, which adds burden on some of them with high costs due to their weak financial capacity.

ReliefWeb, a website specialized in monitoring humanitarian information around the world, released its special report on the humanitarian situation in Idlib, on January 29.

According to the report, 80% of the displaced in northwestern Syria are women and children, and the number of displaced people is likely to increase dramatically in the next few days.

The report indicates that most of the displaced families reside temporarily in public buildings, mosques and schools, and other families reside in unfinished homes that lack the minimum of the human conditions.

The director of the response department at Violet Organization, Abdul Razzaq al-Awad, explains to Enab Baladi the most critical responsibilities that have increased following the new wave of displacement in northern Idlib, such as providing shelters and blankets for several displaced families.

According to the director of the Response Section, the mechanism by which the organization will deal with the displaced is the evacuation of the displaced from “active conflict” areas such as Jericho, Jabal al-Zawiya, and Saraqib, due to the limited capabilities.

There are seven temporary shelters for the organization, distributed from Idlib to Darat Azza in the north, and the organization’s team is trying to develop services there, “including distributing financial aid to families,” said al-Awad.

Last week’s increase in the number of displaced civilians raises serious concerns, according to ReliefWeb’s report, in light of the Syrian regime’s control of 35 residential complexes within the northern region of Syria, during the period between January 15 and 21, last year.

All these developments increased concerns and fears that civilians will remain severely affected by the hostilities, with territorial gains continuing at the expense of populated urban areas.

 

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