Regime shelling triggers Idlib displacement
By Waleed Abu al-Khair in Cairo
Signs of a humanitarian crisis are beginning to appear in rural Hama and Idlib provinces, amid growing displacement fueled by constant shelling from the Syrian regime and affiliated militias, a local activist told Diyaruna.
The interior of Idlib province is beginning to become overcrowded with internally displaced persons (IDPs) from rural Idlib and Hama because of the ongoing shelling, activist Haisam al-Idlibi said.
This has continued even though those areas are located within the demilitarised zone and are covered by the ceasefire agreement, he told Diyaruna.
"In less than a month, an estimated 5,000 families have been displaced from this area," he said, "and are facing many hardships, particularly in securing housing."
A large number of them have been forced to sleep out in the open, facing harsh weather and a lack of heating, blankets, clothing, health care and food.
Faced with a fresh wave of displacement, local councils are no longer able to provide assistance to the IDPs and have been warning that further waves of displaced persons are coming, al-Idlibi said.
Urgent appeal for help
The local council of Maarat al-Numan has issued an appeal for help to humanitarian organisations on account of the conditions that IDPs are facing.
The council has requested urgent humanitarian assistance in view of the near-total halt in relief work in the region, al-Idlibi said.
"In addition to the ongoing displacement movement, many civilians are injured in the hostilities on a daily basis, including a large number of children," he said.
Areas under constant shelling include the eastern countryside of Maarat al-Numan, including Jarjanaz, and towns in southern rural Idlib, including Khan Sheikhun, al-Tamanaa, al-Farja, Umm Jalal, Sukayk, and Maan.
Villages under fire in northern rural Hama include Tal Sakhr, Hasraya, al-Arbaeen, al-Teh, Tahtaya, al-Jaysiyyat, Hesh al-Sharqiya, al-Latamnah, al-Ziyara and Morek, al-Idlibi added.
The artillery batteries raining shells on the region are positioned in the towns of Maardes, which overlooks the entire region, and Jubbayn, both in northern rural Hama, he said.