The city of Deir Azzour is being subjected to a focussed attack by elements of ISIL, in addition to an ongoing and relentless attack by the Syrian regime.
ISIL retreated from most areas of Deir Azzour last February after vicious battles with other armed factions of the Syrian opposition. However, it began new counter-offensive attacks in April which are continuing till today.
It is clear that ISIL are attempting to take control of Deir Azzour, particularly as this would give them governance over Eastern Syria- areas rich with oil- and link them with the western areas they currently control in Iraq.
ISIL forces began attacking the city of Albo Kamal on 11/4/2014; however elements of the al-Nusra opposition resisted the attack, forcing ISIL to retreat to the T2 oil terminal which they control.
By the end of May 2014, ISIL began imposing a siege on the city of Deir Azzour, in conjunction with the bombing carried out by regime forces via artillery and aircraft on ISIL, and in conjunction with all communication being cut off from Deir Azzour.
And on 9/6/2014, the battles extended from the village of Khusham east of the city, which led to the cutting off of electricity from the city.
The continuous shelling from both the regime and ISIL on one side, and the siege imposed by ISIL on the city from another side (after the closing of the Northern crossing) has led to a strangling humanitarian crisis. Food and health access are dwindling away, particularly as they were already scarce materials due to the partial siege which the city has been subjected to for approximately two years and in addition to the relentless bombs being thrown on the city since 2011.
The province of Deir Azzour is suffering from a rapid decline in health issues, even from before the final siege began: the largest hospitals have stopped their services for over a year, and field hospitals suffer from a sharp lack of medical supplies and staff.
Last year, the city recorded its first case of Leishmaniasis as well as its first case of Polio in children and the highest number of people affected by Typhoid and Polio (in children) across all of Syria.
The decline in the sanitary conditions of the city and the spread of disease in it- particularly amongst children- in comparison to other Syrian cities is due to the dependence of the civilians of the city on the Euphrates as a source of drinking water, at a time in which the river has been transformed into a dump for toxic waste and especially oil refining waste.
SHRC, whilst drawing attention to the difficult humanitarian conditions in Deir Azzour, calls upon international organisations to cast light on the crimes being committed by the Syrian regime and ISIL against the civilians in the city, and calls for further aid to be sent to the city, especially when it comes to medical supplies and equipment which will purify drinking water.
SHRC also calls upon the international community to exert its efforts to bring to account criminals of war in Syria, particularly as the current policies of the international community are encouraging criminals to commit further crimes and escape from punishment. This is leading to an escalation in the humanitarian crisis, day after day.