CARE warns against another humanitarian catastrophe in Southern Syria as fighting intensifies

(Amman, Jordan) – The recent military offensive in Southern Syria has pushed tens of thousands of civilians from Eastern Daraa to areas near the closed border with Jordan, where the humanitarian situation is dire and basic needs of women and children are growing by the day, according to local aid workers.

“The fierce bombardment of Eastern rural Daraa is putting the lives of civilians and humanitarian aid workers under direct threat. Newly displaced families are in need of the very basics, such as water, food and shelter. We have witnessed previous similar displacement in Syria and we fear that Daraa will have the same fate,” said Hamdi, an aid worker who works for a Syrian organization supported by CARE.

Another Syrian organization supported by CARE has reported that one aid worker was killed by shelling while he was on duty.

“Heavy fighting and the shelling of populated areas have led to large waves of displacement. Most of those displaced are women, children and the elderly, who now live in overcrowded shelters. These shelters lack the most basic necessities. Clean water is very scarce. People are in desperate need of shelter and water,” said Iman, another aid worker based in Daraa.

In areas where fighting has intensified, humanitarian workers have reported that they are no longer able to deliver much needed assistance to vulnerable populations. CARE’s partners are still distributing aid, including food and cash assistance, in other areas where the security situation allows it.

“Civilians are paying the price of another military offensive. What we have seen in Aleppo, Northern Rural Homs, and Eastern Ghouta, is happening now in the South, where cities and towns are bombed daily, people are being uprooted and lack basic human necessities, such as water and shelter. CARE calls on all parties to take all necessary measures to safeguard civilian lives and allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need,” said Wouter Schaap, CARE’s Syria country director.

“We want to stress to all warring parties that international humanitarian law requires them to protect civilian infrastructure, in particular schools and hospitals,” he added.

The United Nations estimates that up to 50,000 people have been displaced since 19 June in Daraa Governorate.


Notes to editors:

  • All Syrian civil society organizations mentioned in this press release are supported by CARE, and were interviewed in the last week of June. Names have been changed to protect the identity of individuals.
  • CARE has been providing aid in Syria since 2014, and has reached more than 2.7 million people so far. Our work is focused on food security, livelihoods, shelter, water and sanitation, and psychosocial support for people in crisis.

To arrange an interview, contact:

Darcy Knoll
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada | 613-228-5641