On the weekend, close to 3,800 people from Douma city in Syria arrived in Al-Bab District in rural Aleppo Governorate, in what is expected to be the last movement of people from the city. Close to 63,000 people, mostly civilians, were evacuated to north-western Syria in recent weeks. The recent displacement, in addition to the displacement of nearly 400,000 people from southern Idleb since 15 December 2017, is stretching the capacity of the local host communities, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners in north-western Syria. In total, more than 155,000 men, women and children are estimated to have left eastern Ghouta since 9 March. Approximately half of the over 92,000 people who have arrived at internally displaced people sites in rural Damascus remain at those sites. The sites, which are meant to host just over 25,000 people, are operating well beyond their capacity. The United Nations calls on all parties to the conflict to allow for safe, sustained and unhindered humanitarian access to provide life-saving assistance to all those in need. As I mentioned, over the weekend you saw the Secretary-General issued a statement late Friday night on the situation in Syria, and also spoke to the Council on Saturday.
And our humanitarian colleagues in South Sudan tell us that seven aid workers from a South Sudanese humanitarian organization have been released 20 days after being detained by forces from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) in Morobo County in Central Equatoria. The aid workers were in good health when they were handed over to an international humanitarian organization yesterday. The seven national staff from the South Sudan Health Association, a national aid organization, were delivering supplies to health centres serving thousands of people in need in the area. This is the second incident in six months in which aid workers have been taken captive by armed groups in South Sudan. Aid worker security in Africa’s youngest nation remains a key concern for humanitarian workers who are being harassed, intimidated, beaten and killed. Since the conflict began in 2013, at least 99 aid workers have been killed in the line of duty in South Sudan, including two in April.