Analysis of the situation in Sudan reveals that the capital city, Khartoum, has been engulfed in intense clashes between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) for over a month. The conflict has escalated, resulting in airstrikes, artillery fire, and heavy shelling across the city, particularly in areas such as Bahri and Omdurman. The fighting has triggered unrest in other parts of Sudan, particularly in the western region of Darfur, but it remains concentrated in Khartoum.
The ongoing conflict has caused a severe humanitarian crisis, with over 700,000 people internally displaced within Sudan and approximately 200,000 seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Those who have remained in the capital are facing dire circumstances, including dwindling food supplies, collapsing healthcare services, and widespread lawlessness. The official death toll stands at 676, with over 5,500 reported injuries. However, the actual figures are expected to be much higher, given reports of bodies left on the streets and difficulties in conducting proper burials.
The civilian population in Khartoum finds itself caught in the crossfire, enduring the devastating impact of war in their neighborhoods. Residents are expressing their despair and questioning why they have become targets in the conflict. Despite attempts at ceasefires, the fighting has persisted, with both sides engaging in sporadic ground battles. The army has primarily relied on airstrikes and shelling, while the RSF has entrenched itself in various neighborhoods across Khartoum.
Attempts to mediate the conflict have taken place, including talks held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, facilitated by Saudi Arabia and the United States. While a statement of principles has been agreed upon, addressing issues such as humanitarian access and civilian protection, the establishment of humanitarian corridors and a definitive ceasefire are still under discussion. Previous ceasefires announced by both sides have failed to halt the violence.
The Sudanese army has sought to defend key bases by intensifying its airstrikes and shelling. In response, the RSF launched counterattacks, targeting major military bases in Omdurman and southern Khartoum. The RSF claimed to have captured hundreds of army troops in the city of Bahri, although the army has denied this and the claim remains unverified.
The army’s strategy has involved cutting off the RSF’s supply lines and securing strategic sites such as the central Khartoum airport and the Al-Jaili oil refinery in Bahri. However, the fighting has impeded progress in these areas, leading to further destruction and instability.
The conflict originated from disputes over the integration of the RSF into the army and the chain of command in the political transition towards civilian rule and elections. The army’s Chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the RSF Commander, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti), assumed top positions in Sudan’s ruling council after the popular uprising that ousted former leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019. As the transition plan progressed, tensions escalated, resulting in the mobilization of forces by both sides.
Foreign support has played a significant role, with regional states attracted to Sudan’s resources and strategic location. However, the ongoing violence and resulting displacement have created a dire situation for the civilian population. Most of those fleeing Sudan have sought refuge in Egypt and Chad, with others attempting to reach Saudi Arabia via Port Sudan on the Red Sea.
The situation in Sudan remains extremely precarious, with the escalating violence, destruction of infrastructure, and displacement of civilians exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis. Efforts to broker a lasting ceasefire and establish effective humanitarian aid mechanisms are urgently needed to address the needs of the affected population and prevent further