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Escalating regional and internal conflicts are threatening the lives of people in Syria - NGOs 

An increasing number of attacks in Syria is threatening to further deteriorate the already dire humanitarian situation in the country, say a group of leading international NGOs in Syria.  
10 April 2024

The Syria INGO Regional Forum (SIRF) say the attacks are placing people's lives at risk, continuing to cause damage to civilian infrastructure and restricting access to essential services. Data obtained by the SIRF show that over the last nine months, more than 16,000 conflict-related incidents have been reported by humanitarian partners, a 33% increase from the previous period.

Those with influence over parties to the conflicts must urgently work for de-escalation, say the SIRF. With international attention rightly focused on the ongoing devastation in Gaza, there are concerns that parties to conflict are intensifying hostilities inside Syria as the world is looking elsewhere.

This combination of escalating local, regional, and internal violence threatens to worsen the situation inside the country and increase the already high levels of contamination with explosive ordnance, putting the lives and wellbeing of millions of Syrians at risk now and for years to come.

The SIRF calls on all parties to the conflicts to urgently cease all hostilities, ensure protection of civilians guaranteed through the international instruments and immediate abidance by the international humanitarian law.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Gaza, there have been 45 airstrikes in Syria, averaging nearly two attacks per week. More than 60 civilians have been killed so far as recent strikes have taken place in densely populated urban areas and airports, including Aleppo, Damascus, Lattakia, Deir Ez-Zor, Idlib and Qamishli. Most recently, two civilians were killed in a strike in a Damascus suburb where NGO and UN premises and guesthouses are located.

Such airstrikes not only endanger lives of civilians and humanitarian workers, but also risk further destabilization of Syria, already deeply affected by more than 13 years of conflict.

As the protracted conflict continues to exact a heavy toll on Syrian economy, people are resorting to moving in areas susceptible to attacks, or entering fields contaminated with explosive ordnance out of desperation. Dozens of civilians have been reported killed and injured by airstrikes in Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor Governorates, including civilians gathering truffles, an important source of income for communities in that area. Meanwhile, women and girls, whose movement outside the home is already limited, are being further restricted.

In northwest Syria, shelling has recently impacted the town of Sarmin. Tragically, two women and a child, were killed, 12 people, including three women and eight children, were critically injured, while a car bomb exploded in the town of Azaz, killing at least seven people, and wounding 30. Moreover, people continue to grapple with the threat of suicide drones, which have impacted civilian vehicles on some occasions in the past few weeks. Key civilian infrastructure was not spared from violence, with reports of at least three schools and one NGO-supported hospital being damaged in March 2024 alone.

The northeast of Syria has also been critically affected by airstrikes in recent months, with vital fuel, electricity, and water infrastructure destroyed affecting millions of Syrians' access to water.

Conflict escalation is a threat also to humanitarian workers. The recent killing of a WHO staff in Deir Ez-Zor is a stark reminder of the dangers faced by humanitarians in extremely volatile environments, undermining humanitarian efforts and depriving vulnerable populations of lifesaving assistance. In addition to these extreme threats, in recent months the conflict has had an increasing impact on humanitarian operations in Syria.

Humanitarian needs across Syria have never been higher than they are today. 16.7 million people need assistance – nearly half are children. Escalating conflict risks driving these needs higher at a time when donor support for Syria is decreasing. Instead of perpetually having to revert to emergency humanitarian response when incidences of conflict increase, the humanitarian community would rather engage with communities and donors in addressing medium to long-term needs through early recovery interventions and pave the way to alleviate poverty across Syria. This will only be possible through immediate cessation of all hostilities across the region, enhanced protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, and increased support for humanitarian and early recovery interventions.


MEDIA CONTACT: Joshua Mcdonald on 0478 010 972 or

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