Humanitarian Crisis In Sudan’s Darfur Intensifies As RSF Seeks To Capture El-Fasher

Fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary have intensified in recent weeks as the two warring groups fight for control of el-Fasher city in the western Sudanese reigon of Darfur.

Humanitarian Crisis In Sudan’s Darfur Intensifies As RSF Seeks To Capture El-Fasher

The Sudanese armed forces have managed to fend off an attack by the Rapid Support Forces against the city of el-Fasher in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. 

The Rapid Support Forces have been at war with the Sudanese military for more than a year, and have coalesced forces in recent weeks for a planned offensive against the city. El-Fasher is the last city still held by the Sudanese military in the Darfur region.

The Sudanese civil war began in 2023 when tensions between General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of the Sudanese armed forces (SAF), and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known by his nom de guerre Hemedti, the leader of the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary, spilled over into violence in the capital city of Khartoum. The fighting has since spread to large parts of the country. Both generals are vying for power, and the forces commanded by each have been engaged in a protracted war for territorial control. The war has been “fueled by weapons from foreign supporters” and has turned into a “crisis of epic proportions,” according to UN Undersecretary General Rosemary DiCarlo.

The conflict has killed nearly 14,000 people and has pushed the country to the brink of famine, with the UN claiming that nearly 18 million people face acute hunger. Over 9 million people have been displaced from their homes due to the conflict. There are also numerous reports of war crimes being committed by the opposing forces.

Human Rights Watch claims that the Darfur region has witnessed some of the worst atrocities since the conflict began, as the Arab-dominated Rapid Support Forces has carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the region’s non-Arab populations and the ethnic Masalit. The RSF carried out a campaign targeting Masalit neighborhoods from April to June 2023, with at least 10,000 people killed in the city of El Geneina alone. The hundreds of thousands of people who have fled have sought refuge in neighboring Chad.

This is not the first time that Sudan’s Darfur region is a site of mass atrocity and violence. Two decades ago, the Janjaweed militia carried out a genocide against populations that identify as Central or East African. The Janjaweed militia were later formalized as the Rapid Support Forces by former President Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown in 2023. Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide.