Cologne. After seven years, the unabated violence of the Syrian civil war continues to cause monumental suffering for millions of civilians in the Middle East.
“The desperate situation in East Ghouta is a gruesome and predictable recurrence of the states of siege in towns like Homs and Aleppo,” says Janine Lietmeyer, Country Group Manager for Syria and Lebanon at Malteser International. “In Idlib, 300,000 newly displaced persons have become heavily reliant on humanitarian assistance. Syrian aid workers who have been risking their lives for the past seven years as doctors, nurses and midwives, are now in a state of total exhaustion. They are deserving of our full solidarity and support.”
However, the precarious situation and unstable security are not the only problems facing humanitarian work in the country.
According to Lietmeyer, aid workers in the country have been accused of losing their neutrality. “The confusing mix of parties involved in the conflict and their continued violations of international humanitarian law may be understandable reasons to think all actors within Syria are politically corrupt. But placing humanitarian actors under general suspicion is going very wide off the mark,” she says. “Access to areas with people in need can only be gained through negotiations with warring parties in control. For humanitarian aid actors, the core mission is to bring help to millions of civilians who have been dependent on aid since the start of the war.”
There are hardly any more superlatives left to express the tragic dimensions of the Syrian civil war. It has been described as the conflict with the largest flow of refugees, the most intensive bombardments of civil institutions, the most brutal war crimes, and the highest number of failed UN resolutions.
These records are as sad as the ritualized show of outrage and the growing indifference of the global community to the plight of civilians in Syria, who continue to face suffering.
Malteser International has been active in Syria since 2013, providing medical care and life-saving aid for displaced persons in partnership with Syrian local organizations. Malteser International's work in the country includes support for three basic healthcare facilities, a mobile clinic, as well as a maternity and paediatric clinic. Funded by the German Foreign Office, the organization now plans to expand its aid in western Aleppo and Idlib. Around 440,000 people will receive hygiene packages and household items in the coming weeks.
Note to editors:
Janine Lietmeyer, Country Desk Officer for Syria is available for interviews
Tel.: +49 (0)221 9822 7181,
We are urgently calling for donations to support our relief efforts.
Find out more on Malteser International’s work in Syria.