Civilians must be protected in Syria: Oxfam

Campaigns and Advocacy, Emergencies, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 23 Dec 2016

Oxfam is calling for civilians in formerly besieged areas of Aleppo and in neighbouring Idlib Governorate to be protected.

Those who have chosen to remain in Aleppo must also have their rights respected, have access to assistance and be free from the risk of reprisal attacks.

It is estimated that more than 34,000 people have been evacuated from the formerly opposition held east of Aleppo since 15 December 2016 and the Syrian army says it has retaken control of the city.

Oxfam Australia’s Humanitarian Manager Meg Quartermaine said estimates were thousands of people remained in East Aleppo in dire conditions with little access to healthcare, food and water and heavy snow and wind.

“The government of Syria and all armed groups must ensure civilians are protected, regardless of who they support,” Ms Quartermaine said.

The evacuation of East Aleppo was part of a deal that includes the evacuation of civilians from the two Syrian Government held towns of Foah and Kefraya, in Idlib Governorate, that are surrounded by armed opposition groups.

“Oxfam also welcomes the news that the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for the deployment of UN staff to monitor the evacuations in Aleppo and that authorisation was granted for additional UN staff to be deployed to the city,” Ms Quartermaine said.

Oxfam’s Syria Crisis Response Manager, Andy Baker, said it was important civilians are safe and their rights are respected.

“Those who chose to remain in their homes, as well as those who have made the difficult choice to leave, must be safe and protected. There must be no reprisal attacks, arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial executions or disappearances under any circumstances,” Mr Baker said.

Oxfam has provided and maintained generators powering a major water pumping system in Aleppo, and provided family hygiene kits for distribution to displaced families in the city. The organisation also built a water, toilet and shower block for displaced people, but it was destroyed in the fighting.

Donations to the organisation’s Syria Crisis response can be made at or by calling 1800 034 034.

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