UK to provide emergency assistance and medical support in Syria

UK to provide emergency assistance and medical support in Syria
Alistair Burt © Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The UK Government will provide emergency assistance and medical support for civilians in Syria, in response to a growing risk of attacks in the country’s north-west by the Assad regime.

According to the UK Government, almost three million people are at risk of deadly attacks in the northern province of Idlib. It will provide emergency assistance and medical support to people in the region, including four health centres and two mobile health teams which will be able to respond quickly and treat injured and vulnerable people across the governorate.

Idlib is one of the few rebel-controlled territories remaining in the country, following years of civil war. Experts expect the Syrian government to launch attacks on the regime to root out opposition and end the war, but this escalation in the conflict would risk significant civilian casualties.

How will the UK’s efforts help Syrian citizens facing attack by the government?

In addition to the emergency assistance and medical support it will provide, the UK has also announced plans to back an innovative new technology which will provide citizens in the region with an early warning system in the event of an airstrike. The technology was developed by civilian technology company Hala Systems, and detects aircraft with remote sensors. It is estimated to have already reduced casualties by up to 27% in areas under heavy bombardment.

UK Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt emphasised the urgent need to help civilians under threat in Syria, and to avoid a potential humanitarian crisis in the event that conflict escalates there. He said: “The UK is extremely concerned about escalating military action by Assad and his backers on almost 3 million civilians who have sought shelter in Idlib and surrounding areas… Today’s UK aid package will make sure the most vulnerable can get the medical treatment, food, water and support they so desperately need. But this is not enough. That’s why we’re also funding an innovative early warning system that is proven to reduce civilian casualties from airstrikes.”

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