International failure in northwest Syria: humanitarian health catastrophe demands action International failure in northwest Syria: humanitarian health catastrophe demands action
The 9-year conflict in Syria has resulted in one of the worst humanitarian crises of our generation, with more than 11·7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria, 11·3 million in need of health assistance, and 6·2 million internally displaced within Syria. In one of the worst onslaughts of the conflict to date, Syrian Government and Russian forces have intensified their ground shelling and airstrikes in northwest Syria since early April, 2019. This area contains an estimated 3 million people of whom 1·3 million are internally displaced people, who have already been displaced from other parts of Syria such as Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta by previous government offensives; the most severely affected area is in the southernmost part of the demilitarised zone of Idlib province. To date, 380 casualties, including 91 children, have been reported in Idlib; with 27 deaths, including 11 children, in just 1 day on June 10, 2019. These attacks echo prior campaigns by government forces to retake territory through inflicting a heavy civilian price. However, this offensive is even more catastrophic as civilians are trapped between the closed Turkish border and are unable to return to other parts of Syria with guarantees of their safety. On June 27, 2019, 11 humanitarian organisations warned of the worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib, with 3 million lives in danger, including 1 million children.
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