UN: Conflict in Idlib could be catastrophe

Orient Net 2019-05-10 08:34:00

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The head of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria warned Thursday (May 9) that an all-out conflict in the last major rebel stronghold in Idlib province would very likely increase human rights violations and generate a humanitarian catastrophe, AP reported.

Paulo Pinheiro told a news conference that the current aerial and ground offensive by the Assad regime and its allies is "a serious escalation" resulting in scores of civilian casualties and the displacement of over 150,000 people in just one week.

The commission, established by the UN Human Rights Council, has been gathering evidence of alleged crimes against civilians during the nine-year war.

Since the beginning of the year, Pinheiro said, the commission has been investigating deadly attacks against civilians by the Assad regime and its allies in Idlib and northern Hama, including on medical facilities, markets, schools and other civilian infrastructure.

Pinheiro also expressed concern about tens of thousands of civilians displaced during the final campaign to rout ISIS from territory it held in northern Syria.

Many are "being held in limbo under dire humanitarian conditions" with only marginal access to food and medical care and are "being treated as security threats," he said.

The commission said in a statement that "inevitably this has led to preventable deaths," noting that "up to 240 children have reportedly already perished due to malnutrition or untreated infected wounds."

At Al-Hol camp in Hasahah, which was initially built to house up to 10,000 displaced people, there are now over 73,000. Ninety-two percent of them are women and children and 15 percent, or at least 11,000, are foreign nationals, the commission said.

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