The renewed fighting in Syria’s Idlib province has created an atmosphere of “total panic” among civilians, a senior UN official has asserted
UN humanitarian chief for Syria’s, Panoz Moumtzis, said that a humanitarian disaster in jihadi-controlled Idlib province of Syria could foreshadow a wider government offensive and compel hundreds of thousands to leave the area. “These people don’t know where to go,” he said, adding that if President Bashar al-Assad’s forces launched an all-out assault, they would have to deal with yet another crisis. “A total panic has resumed again. It’s like playing with fire at the moment and we worry about it coming out of control,” he further said.
The fresh fighting comes at a time when international concern regarding Syria has increased. British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, expressed his concern and said, “Appalled by the situation in Idlib and how Assad backed by Russia revoked ‘conditional’ ceasefire just days after announcing it – a repeated pattern of behaviour”. “Attacks on civilian targets are a violation of international humanitarian law – this must stop,” he added.
The truce, which was announced last Friday, broke down after former al-Qaida affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham refused to leave a planned buffer zone in the area. Following the disagreement regarding a prime component of the agreement, the Syrian government officially declared the end of the ceasefire.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has stated that as many as 49 air raids occurred in 10 locations following the annulment of the agreement. About 380 government mortar and artillery shells were fired, according to reports. The UN has said that its contingency plan can cope with the displacement of about 900,000 people, but they will not be able to manage the displacement of Idlib’s entire population.