August 8th, 2018
Possible consequences of the looming conflict in Idlib.
As the complicated and controversial conflict in Syria reaches new heights of intensity, the ravaged city of Idlib seems to be the next target for the Syrian army as it takes back control of its territories. However, as the recent history of these urban battles has proven, the close quartered nature of the fighting in built up areas has proven an incredibly perilous and dangerous place to be for civilians.
Fighting in Mosul and Ghouta has caused large amounts of civilian deaths reaching the hundreds of thousands in some cases, with millions more being forced to seek refuge in neighbouring towns, cities and even foreign countries. With this in mind, it is a scary thought to think what the civilian losses could be if another major battle is fought in Idlib. In a report made by Thomson Reuters UK it has been revealed that health specialists fear that should a battle take place, up to 700,000 could be forced out of homes and accommodation due to the fighting leaving millions of civilians trapped within the city. The population of Idlib has almost doubled in size to an estimated 2.5 million. This is due to a series of agreements made between rebel groups and the Syrian regime allowing fighters families to evacuate on buses, many of them often ending up in rebel held areas of Idlib. In a quote from the United Nations, it is said that the region has “become a dumping ground for evacuees”. With such high numbers of refugee’s on top of residents who already live in Idlib, it is certain that if hostilities in the North-West continue to rise, then a battle in Idlib is imminent and will be far more complicated and violent than any before it during the seven-year civil war.
If the battle does go ahead then the mass exodus of civilians could possibly overwhelm the few aid workers that can operate in the volatile region. More aid and funding would be needed in order to treat the IDP’s (internally displaces persons) medical conditions/injuries and to feed, water and clothe them. As the past has proven civilians often only escape with their basic essentials if anything at all, and so it is crucial this aid be ready, should the conflict intensify.
This is just another example of how, even though ISIS has mostly wasted away in the country, the conflict there continues to rage on taking the lives of thousands of civilians every month and rooting many more from their homes.
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