Statement by the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) on the Recent Military Escalation in Idleb, Syria – 24 July 2019

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Idleb governorate has witnessed a violent week where the rescue teams and the residents could hardly retrieve bodies trapped under rubble as the regime and its allies resumed their bombardments, causing another massacre. The rescue teams and the civilians were probably buried above bodies they were trying to retrieve.

On the 22nd of July 2019, the Russian warplanes launched an airstrike on a popular public market in Ma’arrat An Nu’man city in the southern countryside of Idleb, causing deaths and injuries. Moreover, when the Civil Defense teams arrived to aid the wounded and retrieve the dead, and when the civilians gathered in the shelling site, the Russian warplanes resumed bombing on the same market, killing 49 civilians, including five children, five women and a Civil Defense volunteer, and injuring 70 civilians, including eight children and five women. Only three days before, on the 21st of July 2019, the regime warplanes launched two airstrikes on Orm Eljoz town, killing 10 civilians, including three children and two women, and injuring three others. Additionally, four days earlier to that, on the 16th of July 2019, the regime warplanes also launched three airstrikes on Maar Shurin city, killing 12 civilians and injuring 15 others.

During the first half of 2019, the Information Management Unit (IMU) of the ACU documented the death of 1,057 people by the regime and its allies’ shelling, including 251 children and 174 women. During the same period, bombardments by the Syrian regime and its allies injured another 2,245 civilians. Furthermore, the regime struck 32 medical points and hospitals, 10 bakeries, 29 schools, 23 IDP camps, 11 popular markets, 10 houses of worship and 5 Civil Defense centers. The regime and its allies launched dozens of airstrikes on Civil Defense teams evacuating the wounded and retrieving the bodies, leaving the Civil Defense volunteers between dead or injured.

Over 3 million civilians, including more than 1 million children, live in Idleb governorate. The forcibly displaced people constitute over 40% of the population in Idleb, which became their last resort. The civilians expect the Security Council and all international and humanitarian actors to take serious steps towards stopping the systematic killing and destruction by the regime and its allies. Correspondingly, humanitarian actors suspend their action in Idleb governorate under the pretext of unsafe or inconvenient work environment. The Assistance Coordination Unit urges the Group of Friends of the Syrian People, who have committed themselves with their Syrian partners, from the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and its institutions, to resume supporting institutions and directorates in North West Syria, which are making serious efforts in health, education and other service sectors, and empower those institutions to fulfill their tasks and keep pace with the Syrian people’s sufferings to guarantee the prevention of growth of displacement waves.

The Assistance Coordination Unit urges all international actors to find ways for stopping the killing machine and ensuring the civilian’s protection in Syria. The ACU also calls upon all humanitarian actors to intensify their efforts to keep pace with the civilians’ sufferings and respond to their basic needs.

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