Press release

Christian Aid calls for an immediate ceasefire as hundreds of thousands flee violence in northwest Syria

As the on-the-ground situation in northwest Syria continues to deteriorate, Christian Aid is urging the UK government and global leaders for an urgent humanitarian response.

Ongoing violence, particularly in the Idlib and Aleppo governorates, has forced half a million people from their homes between 1 November 2019 and 2 February 2020, following airstrikes and shelling by Syrian and Russian forces. The UN has verified the deaths of 49 civilians in the days between 1 and 5 February, of which 17 were children.

A Christian Aid local partner in Syria, who cannot be named for security reasons, said: “The need for humanitarian truce is urgent and the increase in humanitarian response is vital.” Another partner reminded us that: “This is a tragedy repeated every year with the total silence of the international community who seem to have forgotten about Syria.”

Máiréad Collins, Christian Aid’s Senior Advocacy Adviser for Syria, said: “It is absolutely vital that action is taken to stop the violence and potentially save the lives of millions of civilians who have been forced from their homes.

“The death of nine civilians last week, all from the same family, who were fleeing in a bus when it was struck by a missile, as well as repeated attacks on schools and hospitals, has driven home the message to our partners that no one is safe from these airstrikes.

“Updates we have received from the ground report that large numbers of displaced people are congregating on the Turkish border in an area without the infrastructure to protect them, leaving them sheltering on agricultural land, in the mountains, in schools and in mosques.

“The majority of the displaced are without shelter, or are in tents.  All those affected are facing a dire humanitarian situation without adequate shelter, food, or fuel in cold and wet conditions.

“In 2016, we stood with Aleppo and said we would not let such violence happen again.  But it has happened again, over and over.  We have a responsibility to the people of Syria to stand with them, take action and call for an end to this ongoing violence.”