Time is running out: immediate and unconditional access for aid to northern Syria

Image: wmc

February 8, 2023

Peace organization PAX said this in a statement today. After the massive earthquake on Sunday night, Feb. 5, emergency relief is getting off to a poor start because humanitarian aid can barely reach the affected areas. “Right now every hour counts when people can still be pulled out alive from under the rubble. The key is to provide maximum assistance to the victims. The fact that the borders between Turkey and Syria are only open to a limited extent and aid is coming in only sparsely is a disgrace. All victims need help now,” PAX said.   

“Immediate and unconditional access to northern Syria is needed. The borders between Turkey and Syria must therefore be opened so that aid can pass unhindered. The responsible authorities must immediately remove all obstacles,” the statement further reads. Establishing an airlift would help, in order to send goods and aid workers.  

Cooperation with local organizations

Until now, aid to Syria was coordinated from the Turkish cities of Gaziantep and Antakya, which have also been hit hard by the earthquakes. Those lines of communication, infrastructure and organizations no longer function. Therefore, direct aid to and cooperation with local organizations such as the White Helmets is necessary. The Netherlands previously stopped financial aid to the White Helmets. Now it is all the more apparent that this organization desperately needs Western support, as they have access to the affected areas, albeit with very limited resources and manpower. PAX calls on the Netherlands to resume support immediately to the White Helmets.  

Donate generously

Peace organization PAX has been active in Syria for years, working for peace and freedom with local organizations such as Women NOW, PEL and Kesh Malek. PAX is calling on its supporters to donate generously to Syrian aid organizations or donate through its own website in order to continue peace work in Syria.  

Disaster upon a disaster

“This earthquake is a disaster upon a disaster for Syrians. For 12 years they have been living under horrific violence, in appalling conditions. Four million people live in Idlib province in northwestern Syria, more than half of whom are displaced, driven out of regime areas. They live in tents and poor housing, and already had little access to food, water and hygiene.” 

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