Syria: UN relief wing voices concern about civilians caught in crossfire in Raqqa city

Displaced children and adults in Syria are seen in a vehicle after fleeing from ISIL-controlled areas in rural Raqqa to Ain Issa, the main staging point for displaced families, some 50 kilometres north of Raqqa city. Photo: UNICEF/Delil Soulaiman

The United Nations humanitarian wing is deeply concerned about the safety and protection of the thousands of civilians inside Raqqa city, many of them women and children, who are caught in the crossfire of the ongoing conflict, a UN spokesperson said today.

“The humanitarian community is assisting displaced people – and host communities – in at least 46 sites, camps or areas of high concentration of internally displaced people in the area, and they are reaching over 263,000 people with some form of assistance in July,” Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at the regular Headquarters press briefing in New York.

He added that assistance includes various types of food, including daily rations of bread, medicines and medical supplies, as well as nutrition assistance.

The offensive to retake Raqqa city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) began two months ago. Ground fighting and airstrikes in and around the city have led to mass displacement and a deterioration of the humanitarian situation inside the city.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), an estimated 10,000 to 25,000 people remain trapped in the city, although exact figures remain difficult to verify due to the situation on the ground.

“Access to Raqqa is not currently possible for the UN, due to the fighting on the ground,” Mr. Dujarric said, reminding all military actors of their obligations to protect civilians and ensure humanitarian access, in line with international humanitarian law.


United Nations

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Sound and Picture organization: We are a group of Syrian human rights activists. We noticed the lack of bodies which document abuses against civilians inside Syria, therefore we decided to establish this project, it is specialized to document the violations which have committed by all sides in the ongoing conflict in Syria against civilians in a professional way. The organization is documenting all kinds of violations, and working on the accounting for the groups which committed these violations by the international community. The organization is completely independent, and does not follow any political or military bodies, whether inside or outside Syria.

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