Local news outlets said that civilians continue to flee en masse to IDP camps near the Turkish border as a result of continued shelling by the Assad regime forces and their allies on towns and villages in Hama and Idlib provinces.
President of the Syrian Coalition, Abdurrahman Mustafa, condemned the continued shelling on residential areas covered by the Idlib agreement. He said the ongoing bombing campaign raised serious questions about the role of the United Nations in protecting civilians and the role of “Assad’s guarantors” in putting an end to its murderous behavior.
According to Smart News Network, at least 25,000 families fled their homes in northern rural Hama to northern Syria to escape the relentless bombings which have intensified since early February.
The director of one of the IDP camps said that the displaced people came to the camps of Atma and al-Karama near the Turkish border from 86 villages in northern and western rural Hama, especially from the town of Qala’at al-Madiq, Mount Shahshabo, and Al-Ghab plain. He noted that an average of about 150,000 rockets and artillery shells have been targeting the area on a daily basis since early February.
The bombing campaign has also forced about 90,000 people, mostly children and women, to flee the town of Khan Sheikhoun south of Idlib, local activists said.
The Emergency Response Coordinators Team reported that 88,942 people, mostly children and women, have been displaced from Khan Sheikhoun towards relatively safer areas in the north. They pointed out that the town was home to about 104,116, people, including 2,356 displaced persons at the start of the bombing campaign.
Local activists said that many families in Khan Sheikhoun were unable to leave the town because they cannot afford buying tents or rent houses in Syria’s north. They urged humanitarian and relief organizations to support those families.
The exodus of civilians from Khan Sheikhoun begun at the beginning of the shelling campaign on February 9. Since then, more than 24 civilians have been killed and dozens more injured in the shelling which has also caused massive destruction to civilian property and vital centers.
Local activists appealed to humanitarian and relief organizations to provide the displaced people with heating equipment, winter clothing, and water tanks to help them cope with cold weather, rain, and lack of basic services in the IDP camps.
The towns and villages in rural Hama and Idlib have been subjected to relentless artillery and rocket shelling by the Assad regime and Russian forces resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties despite the Idlib Agreement calling for a halt to shelling in the area. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)