Last week, MedGlobal President Dr. Zaher Sahloul and the advocacy team held a round of high-level meetings with UN agencies, officials, and delegations to discuss the urgent and unprecedented humanitarian crisis unfolding northwest Syria. This included meetings with Ambassador Heusgen, the Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN; Ambassador Sinirlioǧlu, the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN; the U.S. Mission to the UN; the French Mission to the UN; the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); and others.
In the past month, a new wave of displacement in Idlib and the Aleppo countryside has been underway, as a result of the rapidly deteriorating security situation due to airstrikes missile shelling on civilian areas. Towns and villages of the southern and eastern Idlib countryside and western Aleppo countryside are witnessing waves of ongoing displacement. The number of people displaced from these areas since December 2019 is now more than 516,000 civilians. A large portion of those displaced in the past weeks have been displaced before from other parts of Syria. In the 3 days of our UN meetings, over 260,000 people were newly displaced, with more forced to flee each day.
Local NGOs warn that another 650,000 people, mostly children, and women, may also be displaced if violence continues. Most of these IDPs are moving to areas in northern Idlib and Afrin and A’zaz in northern Aleppo, seeking areas less likely to be targeted by attacks and with access to services. These families require humanitarian assistance across sectors, with shelter being a particularly high priority. The vulnerability of IDPs is exacerbated by the winter weather. Heating, winter clothes, and blankets are essential needs. The evacuation of each family has cost between $140-200 in recent weeks.
MedGlobal partners with several Syrian NGOs on the ground like Violet Organization and UOSSM. These and other Syrian NGOs are taking the lead in evacuating families, arranging for much-needed shelter for the newly displaced families, and providing life-saving health services. MedGlobal will continue to advocate for the needs and protection of Syrian civilians.