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Order of Malta Australia


Syria: Human suffering continues as thousands flee violence in Idlib


The civil war in of Syria seemed to be in its final stages after the fall of Aleppo, but civilians are still suffering staggering violence as fighting intensifies in other embattled areas.

“The creation of so-called de-escalation zones in four regions of the country, including the Idlib province, has indeed led to a reduction in violence,” says Janine Lietmeyer, Malteser International’s Country Desk Officer for Syria. “However, Idlib with its 1.5 million inhabitants and a million displaced persons, has seen a massive increase in air strikes since November 2017. More than 100,000 people have since fled the violence to seek refuge near the Turkish border where living conditions have become miserable as the civil war enters its seventh year.”

Camps and reception centers on the Syria-Turkish border have run out of shelter to accommodate the new arrivals, some of whom have been displaced for the second or third time since the beginning of the conflict. The presence of al-Quaeda’s Syrian affiliate Hayat Tahir al-Sham has also presented further challenges to humanitarian operations in the area.

“The West and the United Nations have failed in every attempt to find a political solution to the conflict. The very little attention paid to this war by the western media is disproportionate to the ongoing tragedy faced by civilians. In order to alleviate further suffering, all political and diplomatic efforts should be made to at least ensure safe delivery of humanitarian aid,” states Lietmeyer.

In response to the current crisis, the Order of Malta’s humanitarian relief agency, Malteser International, is providing cross-border assistance from Turkey. Around one thousand families in Idlib are to receive mattresses and blankets. Malteser International has been working in partnership with local Syrian organisations to provide medical care and life-saving aid for displaced persons since 2013.

Malteser International is the humanitarian relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta. With over 100 projects annually in some 25 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, Malteser International has been standing by those affected by poverty, disease, conflict and disaster, helping them lead a healthy life with dignity – without distinction of religion, race or political persuasion. Christian values and the humanitarian principles build the foundation of its work. For more information: and

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The Australian Association

The Australian Association, formed in 1974, currently has in excess of 300 members and aspirant members across every State and Territory of Australia. We also have ongoing and strong links with the Order’s National Associations throughout the Asia Pacific Region including in Singapore and the Philippines and with members of the Order in New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Thailand and Korea. The Order of Malta is committed to serving Our Lords the Poor and Sick worldwide and has done so for over 900 years. This website shares with you the history, mission and current activities of the Order of Malta in Australia, and provides links to the work of the Order world-wide.