Tens of thousands of people are fleeing towards the Turkish border from Aleppo, as Syrian government forces advance. Malteser International is planning the distribution of tents and other aid for the newly arriving displaced people, and is already distributing 1,000 blankets as a first measure. Government troops have recently taken control of the principal highway from Turkey to Aleppo, raising fears that the humanitarian aid that had had previously been transported to the embattled city over the border crossing at Oncupinar will cease. “This development affects us directly,” said Sid Peruvemba, Vice Secretary General of Malteser International: “Our Syrian partner operates medical facilities in the city and region of Aleppo. The staff risk their lives every day to help people in need.”
Despite promises of an increase in funding for the assistance of people affected by the Syrian Conflict made at a conference of donor nations in London on 4 February, there is little prospect of an improvement of conditions for people in the country. “The suspension of peace talks in Geneva means that the chance of a political solution to the conflict remains extremely small. The promises made at the donor conference cannot change this: humanitarian aid cannot be a substitute for decisive political action,” said Peruvemba.
“All efforts need to be focused on making sure aid organizations have unhindered access to people in need. Conditions in the cites under siege are unbearable, and the intensification of the bombing with the involvement of the Russian air force has led to an increasing number of dead and wounded people in recent days and weeks.” said Sid Peruvemba, Vice Secretary General of Malteser International.
On 3 February, local and international aid organizations met in advance of the donor conference in London for a dialogue of civil society organizations and representatives from the government delegations. The Syrian parties, who bear the majority of the burden of risk in project implementation on the ground, complained of the short-term nature of donors’ financial commitments, along with a lack of flexibility.
Malteser International has been providing aid to people affected by the Syrian crisis since 2012. Malteser International provided medical treatment to almost 75,000 people in Syria during 2015 – operating a field hospital, a children’s’ hospital and two basic health units in the country through a local partner organization. Malteser International also works with Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and northern Iraq.
For editors: Janine Lietmeyer, Malteser International’s Country Coordinator for Syria is available for interviews.
Contact: Tel.: +49 (0)221 9822 169, elena.stein(at)malteser-international.org