Almost 1 million flee Idlib
Conflict has forced nearly a million people - more than half of them children - to flee from 45% of Idlib governorate in North-West Syria, pushing them into inhumane living conditions in overcrowded camps for internally displaced people (those who have become refugees in their own country).
As the conflict enters its tenth year on March 15th 2020, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Save the Children and World Vision are releasing new analysis today looking at the civilian and humanitarian impact of the renewed military offensive launched in April 2019. Nearly one million people have been forced to flee their homes since the start of December 2019 alone.
Satellite images reveal damage
A series of satellite images, analysed by the Signal Program at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, show that several areas in the South and East of Idlib governorate have been intensely damaged by the offensive. In the areas examined, the researchers estimate that nearly one-third of buildings have been significantly damaged or destroyed. With most of these areas inhabitants having fled before or during the offensive, the destruction of homes and vital civilian infrastructure will make it nearly impossible for families to return in the near future, according to the aid organisations.
Another set of images show two displacement camps in North Idlib that have more than doubled in area since 2017. The informal and formal camps are seen spreading over what was previously agricultural land. In both camps, population density appears to grow acutely between 2018 and 2019, with significant increases over the last year.
The true impact: Syrian children's first-hand accounts
Othman*, 9, whose family now lives in a displacement camp, said: “We left [our home] because of the attacks, we left in a car and came here. We couldn’t find anywhere to settle in. We stayed in a mosque first, then they brought us here. All my friends are gone, there’s no one left in my town. They’ve killed everyone there.”