GENEVA / SYRIA UPDATE

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07-Jun-2019 00:03:06
“Humanitarians are deeply alarmed by the ongoing hostilities in north-western Syria” where the civilians are constantly under attack by artillery, airstrikes and barrel bombs, the UN Humanitarian Office (OCHA) spokesperson Jens Laerke said today in Geneva. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / SYRIA UPDATE
TRT: 3:06
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 07 JUNE 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, Room III
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Jenifer Fenton, spokesperson, Office of the UN Special Envoy for Syria:
“If there remains a continuation in the escalating violence in and around the Idlib de-escalation area, it is obvious that a humanitarian catastrophe could be triggered. The Senior Humanitarian Advisor noted this to the Humanitarian Task Force Members and called on them to take meaningful action. All parties must uphold their obligations under International Law and immediately stop attack against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities, schools, markets, and places of worship.”
4. Wide shot, panel
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, OCHA:
“Humanitarians are deeply alarmed by the ongoing hostilities in north-western Syria and the near daily reports of civilians and civilian infrastructure coming under attack including by airstrikes, artillery shelling and barrel bombs.”
6. Wide shot, panel
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, OCHA:
“Hostilities have resulted in at least 160 civilians confirmed dead and hundreds more injured.”
8. Wide shot, journalists
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, OCHA:
“Since 28 April, there have been 25 confirmed attacks on healthcare in the north-west, including on 24 health facilities and one ambulance. Two of the attacked health facilities were hit more than once and at least six health workers have been killed.”
10. Med shot, journalists
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, OCHA:
“Education is also under attack. As of 30 May 2019, the United Nations has received 36 reports on attacks on schools in the north-west. Twenty-three of these attacks have been verified in Idlib in the month of May alone.”
12. Med shot, journalists
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, OCHA:
“We are seeing a military escalation, absolutely, no doubt about that. Now, after eight years of war in Syria, I think every time that we kind of reach the limit of the language that we have, we speak about disasters, catastrophes, ‘this is the end’, ‘meltdown of humanity’ – I recall many of these words having been used here – we see something even worse.”
14. Med shot, journalists
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, OCHA:
“Notwithstanding the fact that any health facility is already fully protected under International Humanitarian Law, it is illegal to target them.”
16. Wide shot, table, journalists
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, OCHA:
“The status of healthcare in Syria at large and in particular in Idlib was already appalling. What we are seeing as I mentioned now is that even though facilities have not been hit, they fear that they may be hit. So doctors, health care personnel, are leaving. Patients are not going to those hospitals, understandably.”
18. Med shot journalist
19. Med shot, journalists
20. Close up, cameraman
21. Close up, hands

STORYLINE:

“Airstrikes, artillery shelling and barrel bombs” are responsible for “near-daily” attacks on civilians, hospitals and schools in north-west Syria, UN humanitarians said on Friday.

Amid deadly violence in opposition-held Idlib province, where a Government-led military operation escalated in late April, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the hostilities had resulted in “at least 160 civilians confirmed dead” and hundreds more injured.

“Since 28 April, there have been 25 confirmed attacks on healthcare in the north-west, including on 24 health facilities and one ambulance,” said spokesperson Jens Laerke. “Two of the attacked health facilities were hit more than once and at least six health workers have been killed.”

OCHA’s alert on the deteriorating situation in north-west Syria follows renewed warnings of a “humanitarian catastrophe” a day earlier by Najat Rochdi, Senior Humanitarian Adviser to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria on events in Idlib, Al Hol and Rukban.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and three million people in Idlib need protection, the UN official wrote in a statement, noting also attacks and fighting are also impacting civilians in government-controlled areas.

Delivering Rochdi’s comments to journalists in Geneva, Jenifer Fenton, spokesperson for the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Syria, said: “If there remains a continuation in the escalating violence in and around the Idlib de-escalation area, it is obvious that a humanitarian catastrophe could be triggered. The Senior Humanitarian Advisor noted this to the Humanitarian Task Force Members and called on them to take meaningful action. All parties must uphold their obligations under International Law and immediately stop attack against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities, schools, markets, and places of worship.”

The ongoing violence in Syria has also had a terrible impact on children and their schooling, OCHA’s Laerke insisted.

“Education is also under attack,” he said. “As of 30 May 2019, the United Nations has received 36 reports on attacks on schools in the north-west. Twenty-three of these attacks have been verified in Idlib in the month of May alone.”

Asked to gauge how critical the situation is for the millions of people trapped in the opposition-held enclave, Jaerke said that he was almost running out of words to do so.

“We are seeing a military escalation, absolutely, no doubt about that,” he said. “Now, after eight years of war in Syria, I think every time that we kind of reach the limit of the language that we have, we speak about disasters, catastrophes, ‘this is the end’, ‘meltdown of humanity’ – I recall many of these words having been used here – we see something even worse.”

Particularly alarming was the ongoing targeting of civilians and public facilities which is prohibited under the rules of war, the OCHA spokesperson said.

“The status of healthcare in Syria at large and in particular in Idlib was already appalling,” he insisted. “What we are seeing as I mentioned now is that even though facilities have not been hit, they fear that they may be hit. So, doctors, health care personnel, are leaving. Patients are not going to those hospitals, understandably.”

Such attacks had prompted other health facilities to be evacuated “in anticipation of possible attack”, depriving thousands of others of necessary health care.

“Notwithstanding the fact that any health facility is already fully protected under International Humanitarian Law, it is illegal to target them,” Mr. Laerke said, noting that the UN and its partners continue to provide food aid and mobile health services to displaced people in the north-west.

In addition, self-learning programmes, catch-up classes and remedial education are also provided for thousands of students who have been out of school since the beginning of May.
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