World Bulletin/News Desk
Participants in the Humanitarian Aid Convoy for Syria that travelled to Syria to help refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) with their basic needs found that the Syrian protests that turned into a civil war have now been transformed into a business movement, as humanitarian assistance coming from different countries is not properly directed toward those in need.
“Some people are describing the Syrian revolution as a new business revolution and saying that the aid is now being sold in Turkish markets,” Sarah Elliott, a senior attorney working for the non-governmental organization AMERA (African Middle East Refugee Assistance), which operates in Cairo working with many refugees, including Syrians, said in a press conference held as a wrap-up of the Hayat Aid Convoy for Syria, a multinational volunteer group that departed from the southern Turkish province of Gaziantep for Syria on Friday.
The Humanitarian Aid Convoy for Syria, called “Hayat” (life), traveled for four days, April 25-29, inside Syria. Non-affiliated and independent, the convoy was initiated by young activists from all over the world. Six journalists and 19 human rights activists from several countries, including Australia, Britain, China, Egypt, Germany, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey participated in the humanitarian project that was inspired by the 2010 Turkish Mavi Marmara aid flotilla.
In an address, Elliott, a young Australian human rights activist who was travelling in the refugee camps of northern Syria with the convoy, said that lack of aid targeted to reach Syrian refugees and IDP is the result of many factors that are not mentioned anywhere.
“It because of difficulties coordinating the work and distributing the aid in Syria and also the lack of transportation to major cities such as Homs and Damascus. The problem is also that international non-governmental organizations are providing aid to official Syrian NGOs, essentially to the Syrian Red Cross in Damascus,” she noted.
Commenting on the Syrian political stalemate that has being continuing for more than three years, Elliott said that Syrians are paying the price. “As the first Australian to enter these camps, I was touched by how I was welcomed and how glad the people were that they were not forgotten. This, in this day and age is absolutely absurd when it's happening just minutes away from the Turkish border.”
After evaluating the difficult situation in Syria, at a press conference the aid convoy called for the establishment of a center for all organizations interested in assisting Syrian refugees to easily and effectively distribute the aid going to Syria. They underlined the importance of joint planning for more work to be accomplished.
Visiting the refugee camps of Azaz and Atma inside Syria, the Arab Medical Union Hospital near Aleppo and the Qah refugee camp near Idlib, as well as other refugee camps and dorms in southern Turkey in Kilis and in Reyhaniye, the participants of the convoy urged the importance of raising awareness about the harsh conditions Syrian refugees are facing inside Syria.
A bloody three-year war continues in Syria, Turkey's neighbor, since 2011 and has led to 1 million Syrians fleeing their country and has left more than 70,000 people killed. More than 250,000 Syrians are missing. Most of the refugees, nearly 1.5 million Syrians, the majority of whom are women and children, have fled to neighboring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, while approximately 3,000 Syrian became displaced inside the country.
Last Mod: 30 Nisan 2013, 13:23