Right now in Idlib, families are under attack as the Syrian regime and Russia bomb civilians with renewed ferocity. In 2021 these attacks killed more than 224 people and hundreds more were injured.
To our horror, children are severely impacted by this brutal escalation. Since June at least 65 children have been killed including 13 in just one weekend. Many families start the new year mourning the death of a child or afraid that shells and bombs will fall on their homes.
To add to the suffering, the Syrian regime and Russia are systematically targeting the White Helmets in double-tap attacks, where bombs and missiles hit rescue teams arriving at the site of an attack to save civilians.
Three White Helmets volunteers were killed in 2021: Hammam Al-Asi, Daham Al-Hussein and Ahmed Al-Waki. Two rescue centers were completely destroyed, along with life-saving equipment used for search-and-rescue missions. This targeting of humanitarians is a gross violation of international law.
Idlib’s 3.5 million residents, half of whom have already been displaced from other parts of Syria, have nowhere left to go. As the world watches silently while cities that resisted both Assad and extremists are destroyed and emptied of their residents, humanitarian workers are warning of a catastrophic scenario. But it can be stopped.
The most immediate priority is stopping the attacks on civilians and restoring the ceasefire in Idlib. The ceasefire, which was brokered by Turkey and Russia in March 2020, gave civilians a much-needed respite after months of brutal attacks. It gave the White Helmets space to focus on rehabilitation work and essential services to restore a sense of normalcy, and it allowed medics to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and oversee vaccinations.
Governments around the world, including all members of the UN Security Council and the European Union, must consider all possible measures to directly pressure Russia and the Syrian regime to stop the attacks on civilians and rescue workers.
Sign the petition to demand urgent steps to stop the bombs, restore the ceasefire, and end the deliberate targeting of humanitarian workers.