Visit our new website: worldnews.easybranches.com

‘Great fear’ in Idlib ahead of looming offensive: Health chief

  • Sun, 09 Sep 2018 13:19
Author: 
AFP
ID: 
1536444738820204100
Sun, 2018-09-09 01:11

GENEVA: There is “great fear” among residents and medical workers in Idlib as the threat of a large-scale military operation looms over Syria’s last major opposition bastion, the province’s health chief said. “I fear we are about to face the most catastrophic crisis in our war,” Munzer Al-Khalil told AFP in an interview in Geneva late on Friday.
The orthopaedic surgeon, who heads the health directorate in the opposition region, said he had traveled to the Swiss city to urge diplomats and UN officials to do more to avert a “catastrophe.”
Seized from regime forces in 2015, Idlib and adjacent areas form the final major chunk of Syrian territory still under opposition control. It is home to some 3 million people — around half of them displaced from other parts of the country, according to the UN.
Damascus, which has retaken a succession of opposition bastions this year, has set its sights on Idlib, which is held by a complex array of fighters and extremists.
But a major military operation is expected to pose a humanitarian nightmare because there is no nearby opposition territory left in Syria where people could be evacuated.
“There is a great fear of the advancement of the regime, since there is no other Idlib. There is no other place to go,” said Khalil, who was due to travel back to Syria over the weekend.
On Saturday, Russian airstrikes against the opposition bastion reached their “most violent” in a month, a monitor said.
The spike in violence came after Russia, Iran and Turkey on Friday failed to immediately agree on a solution to avert an imminent government offensive.
Khalil noted a hike in attacks on hospitals in Idlib — there have been two in the past week alone — warning this could mark the run-up to a full-scale assault. “When they decide to take an area, they first attack hospitals,” he said.
“I am worried this has already started.”
Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime has been repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons during the conflict, and Khalil said there was concern such weapons could be used in Idlib.
“What we really fear are (conventional) attacks on vital, crowded locations like a market, a school, a hospital. When these are attacked the casualties are much higher.”
The UN has estimated that an offensive against Idlib could force 800,000 people to flee their homes, in what would be one of the largest displacements yet in the war.
Khalil said his main fear was that there would be a massive exodus toward Turkey with people finding themselves squeezed between advancing Syrian troops and a closed frontier.
“I fear there will be people dying trying to cross the border,” he said.
Khalil said Idlib’s health system was in shambles, with the few remaining doctors forced to work in damaged hospitals with dwindling supplies for surgeries and patients often forced to take expired medicines.
The threat of attack is taking a toll on the mental health of residents, he said, pointing out that the suicide rate, which had previously been close to zero, was now at around nine cases a month.
That number has increased “significantly in the past six months,” as fears of a military assault grow stronger, he said, adding that women and girls between the ages of 16 and 20 accounted for most of the cases.

Main category: 
Tags: 
Intense air raids on edge of Syria’s rebel-held IdlibRussian air strikes pound Syria’s Idlib before key summit Middle-East

Tags


Related Stories

Fear and fanfare as Hong Kong launches China rail link
  • Sun, 23 Sep 2018 14:13

Author: ReutersID: 1537677489651818100Sun, 2018-09-23 02:48 HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s controversial bullet train got off to a smooth start o...

Turkey may launch new offensive against US-backed Kurdish militia in Syria
  • Sun, 23 Sep 2018 10:48

Author: Sat, 2018-09-22 23:03 ANKARA: Turkey is gearing up for a military offensive on Tal Abyad in Syria, according to some news reports, with...

Daesh leader Baghdadi, world’s ‘most wanted’, sought in Syria offensive
  • Sun, 23 Sep 2018 07:11

Author: Michel MOUTOT | AFPID: 1537541337758172300Fri, 2018-09-21 12:17 PARIS: US-backed forces have launched an offensive on Daesh’s las...

Turkey, Russia Agree on Borders of Idlib Demilitarized Zone
  • Sat, 22 Sep 2018 02:33

Ankara and Moscow reached an agreement on Friday on the borders of the demilitarized zone to be set up in Syria’s Idlib region, announced the Turkis...

UN chief: ‘Time for concrete action’ on North Korea
  • Fri, 21 Sep 2018 07:04

Author: Thu, 2018-09-20 23:03 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for concrete action to follow up on North Korea’s commitment to...

Thousands head home in Syria’s Idlib after deal, says monitor
  • Thu, 20 Sep 2018 05:03

Author: Wed, 2018-09-19 23:31 BEIRUT, MOSCOW: Thousands of residents of Syria’s last major opposition bastion Idlib headed home within 48 hour...

Last stand: Syria’s rebel Idlib prepares for a losing battle
  • Mon, 17 Sep 2018 20:15

Author: APID: 1537162475164763200Mon, 2018-09-17 (All day) BEIRUT: They dug trenches around towns, reinforced caves for cover and put up sa...

Yemen coalition resumes offensive to liberate Hodeidah after Houthis reject peace talks
  • Mon, 17 Sep 2018 12:54

Author: Mon, 2018-09-17 01:40 JEDDAH: The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has resumed its offensive to liberate the vital Red Sea port of Hodeidah ...

Every time we Face our Fear, we Gain the Courage and Strength.
  • Mon, 17 Sep 2018 12:43

Every time we Face our Fear, we Gain the Courage and Strength   Why is it all so hard in life and people like to make it complicated for each...

When we have the Ability to Step Out of the Comfort Zone, a Great Future is Awaiting us.
  • Sun, 16 Sep 2018 12:41

When we have the Ability to Step Out of the Comfort Zone, a Great Future is Awaiting us   When we are young we think about what to do during ...

UN shares locations of Idlib hospitals and schools
  • Fri, 14 Sep 2018 12:09

Author: Thu, 2018-09-13 23:07 GENEVA: UN officials have notified Russia, Turkey and the US of the GPS coordinates of 235 schools, hospitals and ...

"great apples ! " by Andreas Weidmann
  • Thu, 13 Sep 2018 23:18

"great apples ! " by Andreas Weidmann "great apples ! " Andreas Weidmann: Photos ...


الاقسام