John Ging, the Director of Operations at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), underlined the enormity of challenges facing the humanitarian operations in Syria, especially in western Aleppo and Idlib province. He warned of the worsening humanitarian situation for tens of thousands of people who were forcefully evacuated from their homes in eastern Aleppo to the rebel-held areas in western rural Aleppo and Idlib province.
Briefing the UN Security Council on the situation in Syria on Friday, Ging said that bad weather conditions and lack of basic needs threaten the lives of the newly arrived internally displaced people who were forced out of their homes by the Assad regime and its allied foreign militias.
Ging pointed out that the “evacuation of the eastern districts of Aleppo may have concluded but the situation in Syria remains catastrophic.”
“Some 13.5 million Syrians continued to remain in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including nearly nine million who were food insecure. Many people, in particular children, have also been left physically and psychologically traumatized by the deprivation and bombardment they have endured,” Ging underlined.
Activists in rural Aleppo said that regime forces and their allies are preparing to launch an offensive on western rural Aleppo amid reports of massive military build-up by regime forces and their allied foreign militias in southern and western Aleppo.
Separately, the Assad regime has the worst record in the world in terms of the use of cluster munitions in recent years, with at least 232 attacks by regime forces using cluster bombs between July 2012 and December 2016.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that it also documented the use of cluster munitions by the Russian forces in at least 147 attacks in Syria since the start of its aggression on September 30, 2015.
The Network said that 25 civilians were killed in a single attack using cluster bombs on the town of Mayadin in rural Deir Ezzor, adding that regime forces hit a bus station in the town with cluster bombs on Thursday.
The SNHR stressed that the use of cluster munitions is a blatant violation of international humanitarian law and amounts to war crimes as the attacks targeted mainly civilian targets.
The Assad regime continues to use cluster munitions despite condemnation by more than 140 countries at the UN General Assembly, the Network said. It added that this repeated use of these internationally prohibited weapons indicates the utmost disregard for the international community.
The Network called on the UN Security Council to issue a binding resolution to destroy all cluster munitions in Syria similar to the one under which Assad’s stockpiles of chemical weapons were destroyed. It also called for taking measures pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2139.
The SNHR stressed the need to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court and to hold accountable all those involved in war crimes against the Syrian people, including the Russian regime after it has been proven guilty of committing war crimes in Syria.
The rights group called upon friends of the Syrian people to exercise real pressure at economic and political levels on the Russian government to stop supporting the murderous Assad regime. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Agencies)