UN officials denounce bombings in northern Syria
At least five people were killed and about 18 wounded in an explosion that occurred near a bus station in Al Bab city, in the Aleppo governorate. A few hours later, another blast took place on a busy street in Afrin, also in Aleppo governorate, killing two people and wounding 15 others, according to initial reports.
I strongly condemn the two separate bombings today in Al Bab and Afrin which are reported to have caused many civilian casualties. It is unacceptable civilians in Syria continue to be impacted by such horrific attacks. My statement with @HadiMuhannad https://t.co/ng7G3Muktgimran_riza
“After more than nine years of crisis, vulnerable civilians living in Syria have already endured immense suffering. They must no longer be impacted by such horrific attacks,” UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria Imran Riza and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis Muhannad Hadi said in a statement.
The two UN officials also called on all parties to fully adhere to their obligations under International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law to ensure the safety of civilians and civilian facilities.
Violence and COVID-19
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 20 violent incidents, reportedly resulting in civilian casualties, have occurred in Al Bab this year alone. In early October, at least 18 civilians – including 5 children – were killed and more than 75 wounded in a horrific bombing in the city.
As of 18 November, over 5,600 coronavirus cases were identified in Aleppo governorate, and more than 7,500 in neighbouring Idlib. About 80 per cent of all confirmed cases were recorded in the previous one month, OCHA said.
Crisis ‘far from over’
Across the war-torn country, more than 11 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to OCHA. Years of conflict, destruction of civilian infrastructure, limited economic opportunities and depleted savings have forced many to resort to harmful coping strategies, such as child labour, forced and early marriage, and other exploitative practices.
The result is extreme vulnerability. Those particularly at risk are children, pregnant and lactating women, people with disabilities, the elderly and other groups or individuals with specific needs or diminished coping mechanisms, said OCHA.