Humanitarian Aid Urgently Required in Areas Affected by Conflict in Syria: IOM Director General

On Monday (14 October) at a processing centre in Sahela Village,182 Syrians who had crossed the border into Iraq were assisted by IOM. Photo: IOM/Vanessa Okoth-Obbo 

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is deeply concerned by the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in northern Syria, where heavy fighting is displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians. 

According to humanitarian partners, an estimated 190,000 people have fled their homes in northeast Syria since the latest round of military operations began last Wednesday.  

“All parties to the conflict must adhere to International Humanitarian Law. Humanitarians must be allowed access to the displaced in order to provide urgent medical and lifesaving assistance,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino. 

On Monday, IOM’s Rapid Assessment and Response Teams (RART) deployed to Sahela, in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, and attended to a group of 182 people who fled the fighting across unofficial entry points. Two doctors and a psychologist were also present, to provide emergency medical and psychosocial care. The group was transported to existing camps where they said family and friends are already living.  

The Organization is prepared to scale up its humanitarian response in the region should more people become displaced and need assistance and safety. 

Many of Syria’s 6.1 million internally displaced have been repeatedly forced from their homes, in some cases after they have returned to their communities. Between May and August of this year, fighting displaced an estimated 400,000 Syrians in the northwest of the country. 

“The cycle of successive displacement is particularly concerning. Continued military operations will have devastating consequences for the seven million people living in Northern Syria,” DG Vitorino added. 

IOM has been supporting displaced Syrians and their host communities since the beginning of the crisis in 2011 and will continue to provide lifesaving assistance to those most in need. 

For more information, please contact: Paul Dillon, IOM Geneva. Tel.:  +41 22 717 94 31, Email: or Angela Wells at IOM Headquarters in Geneva, Tel: T. +41 22 717 9 435 +41 7940 35365, Email: