President of the Syrian National Coalition Anas Al-Abda met with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara on Tuesday. The meeting was focused on the need to put an end to the Russian and Assad regime ferocious onslaught on Idlib and northern rural Hama.
Al-Abda said that Turkey, as a guarantor of the ‘de-escalation zone’ agreement, needs to take diplomatic and political action to ensure an end to the military campaign being launched by the Assad regime and Russia in northwestern Syria. He said that the onslaught will have catastrophic consequences should it not be brought to an end.
The Coalition delegation, which included the Coalition vice-presidents and the secretary-general, gave an overview of the disastrous consequences of the Assad regime’s bombing campaign in northwestern Syria which has already killed hundreds of civilians, wounded thousands, and forced tens of thousands more out of their homes. The delegation said that the recently displaced people are staying out in the open without access to the basic necessities of life.
Both sides exchanged their views and visions which included commonalities on the safe zone to be established in northern Syria.
The Turkish FM reaffirmed his country’s support for the Syrian people and their revolution as he reasserted the importance of working together to protect Idlib and stop the regime’s assault. He pointed out that finding a political solution in Syria is still one of Turkey's top priorities.
The visit came in the context of the series of the urgent diplomatic moves by the Coalition to ensure an end to the ferocious onslaught being launched by the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies against the Syrian people. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Network for Human Rights issued a special report on the weapons the Assad regime and Russia forces used in the bombing campaign in the fourth ‘de-escalation zone’ in Idlib and rural Hama.
The Assad regime dropped no fewer than 3,172 barrel bombs on the region in the period between April 26 and August 19, the report said.
The monitoring group noted that Russian and Assad regime air forces used cluster munitions in at least 22 attacks in the fourth ‘de-escalation zone’ in the same period.
The Network pointed out that the Assad regime and Russian forces used incendiary weapons in 20 attacks, nails-filled bombs in seven attacks, and chemical weapons in one attack.
According to the report, the attacks killed 843 civilians, including 223 children.
The ongoing bombing campaign by the Assad regime and its allies on the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria killed hundreds of unarmed civilians and forced tens of thousands of people from their homes as well as caused massive destruction to the infrastructure, especially medical centers and schools. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu issued a strong warning to the Assad regime a day after an airstrike targeted a Turkish military convoy while on its way to an observation post in Idlib province, which is covered by the ‘de-escalation zone’ agreement.
“The regime needs to not play with fire. We will do whatever it takes to secure our troops,” Cavusoglu told a press conference in the capital Ankara on Tuesday.
Although the attack targeted the 9th observation post, manned by Turkish soldiers, Cavusoglu said that Turkey has no intention of moving the post anywhere.
When asked about Turkey’s plans for the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria, Cavusoglu said that negotiations with the US officials regarding technical matters of the planned safe zone are underway.
Cavusoglu said that talks with Washington on the establishment of the safe zone will continue, adding that “Turkey does have a plan if we do not reach an agreement. Turkey would not allow the US to repeat the procrastination it showed during the Turkish-US talks on a roadmap for the Manbij region.”
With regards to the PYD militia, Turkey’s top diplomat stressed that “they would not tolerate the US to stall Turkey on the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria while it is providing weapons for terror organizations on the other hand.”
Cavusoglu’s remarks came one day after the Assad regime attacked a Turkish convoy while it was on its way to the 9th observation post in southern rural Idlib. The attack killed three civilians and injured 12 others who were nearby, according to a statement by the Turkish Ministry of Defense.
Turkey reinforced its observation posts in Syria during the last two days as it sent new military reinforcements to Idlib on Monday with the aim of safeguarding the Idlib Agreement and preventing the Assad regime forces and their allied militias from advancing further in the region. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department + Anadolu Agency)
Several humanitarian organizations, most notably the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), have warned of the consequences of the lack of treatment for malnourished Syrian children. UNICEF said that without appropriate care, children with severe acute malnourishment are nine times at risk of mortality than their well-nourished counter-parts.
In its mid-year report on food security for children in Syria, the UN children’s agency said that around 92,000 children under the age of five years in Syria are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition. Of those, 19,000 girls and boys are at risk of death due to severe acute malnutrition; a life threatening condition that requires immediate treatment.
The report, which covers the first half of 2019, indicated that an estimated 4.7 million girls and boys under the age of five years and pregnant and lactating women are at risk of undernutrition and in need of comprehensive curative and preventive nutrition services.
Approximately 865,295 girls and boys under the age of five years suffer from micro nutrient deficiencies, the report added. It is estimated that 1.6 million mothers will require maternal nutrition services and skilled support to necessitate optimal infant and young child feeding and care practices.
“The Global Acute Malnutrition among boys and girls under the age of five years remains within acceptable international benchmarks in most of the assessed areas during 2018. However, there are some pockets where SMART surveys and nutrition surveillance information show an increased stunting rates such as Eastern Ghouta (36%) and Tel Abyed (32%).”
UNICEF added: “Acute malnutrition problem is not a priority since GAM and SAM rates are not high and hence nutrition cluster was only 55% funded during 2018 and less than 20% funded during the first quarter of 2019.”
In 2018, the World Food Program (WFP) estimated that over 6.5 million Syrians were at risk of food insecurity, with 10.5 million in need of food and livelihood support.
The WFP is the world's largest humanitarian organization fighting hunger, helping more than 30 million people in about 80 countries. WFP provides food assistance, including in emergencies, and works with communities to improve nutrition and support the people’s resilience. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)