Humanitarian organizations seeking to provide aid to more than one million displaced people in Syria require both access and funds to deliver a suitable level of care, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Operations Manager for Middle East and North Africa Ahmed Fadel told Sputnik on Friday
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd February, 2020) Humanitarian organizations seeking to provide aid to more than one million displaced people in Syria require both access and funds to deliver a suitable level of care, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Operations Manager for middle East and North Africa Ahmed Fadel told Sputnik on Friday.
"We would ask all concerned parties to facilitate the provision of assistance to Syrian displaced people and allow humanitarian actors to respond to their needs in a safe and timely manner. More assistance is needed and more involvement is required from donors," Fadel stated.
Humanitarian workers are protected by international law during aid operations, the MSF official stated, alluding to recent attacks on civilian targets such as hospitals. Targeted strikes on two health care facilities in Syria's Aleppo province were confirmed by the World Health Organization on Tuesday.
"We also want to remind all parties to the conflict that medical facilities, staff and patients are protected by international humanitarian law and that they are essential to save lives and provide basic health care to a population in an extremely painful situation," Fadel stated.
Syrian government forces launched an offensive in Idlib province on December 1 to recapture territory controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist organization (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, banned in Russia). Fadel stated that this offensive has led to a deterioration in the situation.
"There are more than a million displaced Syrians and the humanitarian situation in northwest Syria has been deteriorating since the last months. The military offensive conducted by the Syrian government has triggered massive displacements," he said.
The MSF operations manager added that the humanitarian situation was becoming even more perilous given that the escalation in violence was taking place during a period of cold weather in northwest Syria.
"Over the last weeks we have seen the situation getting more desperate: access to hospitals and to health care is getting more difficult, people are fleeing, desperately seeking for a safe place and also for a shelter and clean drinking water is less and less available, And all amid extreme cold weather," Fadel remarked.
Asked whether the situation in Idlib could lead to more people fleeing the country to neighboring Turkey or Lebanon, Fadel said that the conflict makes it difficult for people to leave the country, leading to a greater number of internally displaced people.
"Warring parties in Syria show no interest in the situation of civilians trapped with shrinking safe space... We cannot predict what's going to happen as the situation keeps deteriorating. The conflict is ongoing and people are forced to go somewhere to seek safety but for the moment they cannot flee their country," the MSF representative said.
A total of 5.6 million Syrian citizens have become displaced since hostilities commenced in 2011, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). More than half of Syrian refugees are currently residing in Turkey.
International organizations such as the United Nations have called for an immediate ceasefire in northwest Syria. On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he could launch a full-scale military operation in Idlib at "any minute," amid escalating tensions in the region following tit-for-tat attacks between Turkish troops and Syrian government forces that began on February 3.