Syria Experiencing Worst Surge of Displacement Since Start of Conflict Seven Years Ago

ICC Note:

According to Save the Children, the escalation of fighting in Syria’s Idlib province has led to the largest displacement movements of the country’s seven year conflict, with over 7,000 people being displaced every day. Idlib was considered a de-escalation zone, and many of the IDPs who are in this area had fled here due to fighting elsewhere in the country. This includes internally displaced Christians and Muslim Background Believers. Idlib was one the last “safe” havens for Syrian IDPs, but the current fighting has left them with nowhere else to flee in the country.  

 

01/18/2018 Syria (Save the Children) – The escalation in fighting in southern Idlib has created one of the worst surges in displacement seen in Syria since the start of the conflict, Save the Children is warning.

In the last few weeks, the fighting has forced around 200,000 people – some 54 percent of them children – to flee north as bombing and shelling has shut hundreds of schools and leveled homes and hospitals. Many are sheltering in the open in freezing temperatures or in abandoned buildings. With fighting closing in on all sides, many are trapped with nowhere left to flee.

The grave situation is one of the largest movements of the almost seven-year conflict, with more than 7,000 people on average being displaced every day and four times more people being displaced than during the last phases of the Aleppo offensive.

Save the Children partners are expecting tens of thousands more people to be forced north in the coming weeks with fighting likely to push deeper into Idlib. Civilian infrastructure continues to come under attack, with reports of seven schools and 12 health facilities hit by bombing or shelling in recent weeks. More than 500 schools – more than a third of all schools in Idlib – have had to close, including several supported by Save the Children.

The mass movement is putting huge strain on already overstretched services. Idlib is already sheltering more than one million displaced people who have sought refuge or been moved there from other parts of Syria. Many fled there following the fight for Aleppo or other parts of Syria, while others have recently returned from neighboring Lebanon or Turkey but are now finding themselves back in the center of conflict.

Long seen as an opposition stronghold, Idlib was declared a de-escalation zone last May in an agreement signed between the Syrian government, Iran, Turkey and Russia. However, fighting quickly escalated again and has now worsened further.

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