Syria’s civil war – Another grim anniversary after 7 years
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 Eastern 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 pediatric 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.
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: www.malteser-international.org and www.orderofmalta.int