Right now in Idlib, tens of thousands of families are on the run as Syrian and Russian warplanes attack their towns and cities with a ferocity we’ve rarely seen before. Their only hope is to reach areas near the border with Turkey, where they can take shelter in muddy tent settlements that are already stretched beyond capacity ten times over and struggling to cope with harsh winter conditions. But even the fleeing vehicles have been bombed on the road.
It’s horror beyond imagination and the worst humanitarian disaster Syria has seen in nine years. 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 Syrian regime and Russia are bombing homes, hospitals, and schools, in violation of international law and countless ceasefire agreements and UN Security Council resolutions. More than 1,500 civilians, including over 450 children, have lost their lives since the escalation started in April. Idlib’s 3.5 million residents, half of whom have already been displaced from other parts of Syria, have nowhere left to go.
The most immediate priority is stopping the aerial attacks on civilians in Idlib. Members of the UN Security Council must consider all possible measures to directly pressure Russia.
On the ground, heroic rescuers and humanitarians are confronted with difficult decisions on a daily basis, like whether to prioritize food, shelter, medicine, education or sanitation. Vehicles designated as mobile libraries to educate displaced children are now being used to evacuate families from danger.
Idlib’s humanitarians have paid a heavy price for their work, with many displaced more than once and targeted by many sides just because they are trying to save lives. Yet they continue to do all they can to respond to the crisis with the little support and resources they have.
The funding requested by the United Nations to scale up its humanitarian response has not been met by donor governments. The UN is using the funding shortfall as an excuse not to respond with the urgency and nimbleness required. As a result, its aid operation in Syria continues to fail those who need it most.
Sign the petition to demand urgent steps to stop the bombs, halt the mass displacement, and support the organizations responding to the humanitarian crisis on the ground.