Syria: Protection the main concern in flight from Aleppo
TitleSyria: Protection the main concern in flight from Aleppo
Displaced Aleppo residents wait in line to receive food distributed by the World Food Programme. Credit: WFP/Hani Al Homsh
By early December, tens of thousands of civilians remained trapped in besieged parts of East Aleppo. Some evacuations have taken place — ICRC estimates that more than 25,000 people were evacuated from Aleppo between 15 and 20 December — but thousands of people are reportedly waiting for evacuations to resume.
Evacuees are arriving in reception centres in Atareb in Aleppo Governorate and in Sarmada in Idleb Governorate, hungry and in desperate need of shelter. Protection of civilians is the biggest concern, and the UN has called for the safe evacuation of all remaining civilians who choose to leave the city. National and international partners are doing all they can to respond to urgent needs by distributing shelter materials, food, blankets and winter clothes, and by carrying out medical and malnutrition consultations.
On 19 December 2016, the Security Council adopted a resolution requesting the United Nations and other institutions to monitor the evacuations from eastern districts of the war-battered city and demanding all parties to conflict to provide these monitors with safe, immediate access to people in need.
Nour, 30, and her family are among those who were displaced from East Aleppo in the last week since the Syrian Army and Russian military stepped up their offensive to retake the town. Nour left the only home she had ever known in the Salahaddin neighbourhood at 4 a.m. due to the deteriorating security situation and lack of food, which brought her family to the brink of starvation. She has scars on her forearms from shrapnel wounds following a mortar attack on her family’s home.
The displacement site where Nour’s family is taking shelter provides no protection from the cold. Credit: OCHA
Humanitarian partners are urgently scaling up their operations in displacement sites across the area, prioritizing protection, food, shelter, warm clothes, water and medical help.
Mohammed’s displaced family outside the cotton factory where they are taking shelter. Credit: OCHA