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Another wave of internally displaced persons in central Homs province

SADAD/SYRIA – On Saturday, 31st October, 2015, ISIS militia, after they took the city of Maheen, attacked the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and National Defence Force Syria (NDA) mountain position which over-looks the village of Sadad. Two car-bombs were used followed by land offensive,10 fighters were reportedly killed on the government side.

The capture of Maheen, in the central Homs province, and the push towards the majority-Christian town of Sadad, points out a new advance of the Islamic State group. Maheen is a strategic town located 25 kilometers east of the highway that links Homs to Damascus. This move could allow ISIS greater mobility throughout Syria. The town also houses a large military complex and arms depots.

In the past 24 hours, fighting has also reached the outskirts of Sadad. This town is home to 15,000 people, mostly Syriac Orthodox and Assyrian Christians (the ancient language of Aramaic is still spoken there), and has 14 churches and a monastery. Earlier in October 2013, Sadad’s civilians paid a heavy price for intense fighting between government and opposition forces. Driven by fear of new clashes, between the evening of Saturday, 31st October and Sunday, 1st November, almost the entire population of the city left. Some of them went to Damascus, others to Homs, and the majority have reached Zeidal and Feiruzeh (see map).

Currently, around 10,000 internally displaced persons are assumed to be in need of food, blankets and mattresses. While individuals are in need of medical attention, especially those with chronic diseases, it seems that there is no public health facility in close vicinity to the newly displaced population. ALPHA in partnership with the Syriac Orthodox Archidiocese of Homs, Hama and dependencies, is calling on the international community for immediate action and support.