Up to 163,000 of the recently displaced people living in the #Azaz area of Northern #Aleppo governorate are endangered by an ISIS advance that began on Thursday night and continued throughout the day.

The push is causing fresh waves of displacement of civilians towards the Turkish border and in the direction of Afrin despite the movement of IDPs being restricted at these points. 

Hospitals and medical points in the area have been evacuated. IDA has relocated its assets and vehicles to the Turkish border’s zero point, though is keeping its Bab al Salama Hospital open to take in the new load of patients and evacuate the severe cases to Turkey. It is now one of three facilities providing surgical services in all of Northern Aleppo. Since the attack began Bab al Salama has admitted 40 patients and evacuated 22 to Turkey. 

Relief workers and medical staff have equally come under attack, with hundreds of humanitarian staff trapped and others injured. Three of our ambulances came under fire while on duty (pictured).

The biggest ISIS advance in Aleppo governorate since 2 years has suspended services in an area already in very critical state. In a survey conducted by IDA between March and April to determine the needs of the IDPs who arrived at the Syrian-Turkish border area of Bab al Salama, it emerged that on average families have been displaced 3.13 times, 38.5% of families share their living space with one or more other families, and 20.2% of families have children who witnessed the destruction of homes. The informal IDP settlements and camps have major problems with sewage, access to latrines and water availability.

Even if the situation improves, more people are likely to flee because the area is now demonstrably unsafe as these towns will remain contested. Life saving activities can only continue in the area in a highly limited manner unless a safe zone is established in Azaz district and by the Bab al Salama crossing, which acted as a lifeline for a population squeezed in by three sides since the start of the year.

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