09 Feb Supporting Syria at the Turkish Border
Thousands of Syrians have fled Aleppo to escape a major military offensive on the city.
Almost 40,000 refugees are stranded at the border with Turkey as the shelling from Russian forces intensifies.
Refugees have been led into camps in Bab al-Salama, on the Syrian side of the Oncupinar crossing. Although Turkey has already given refuge to 2.5 million refugees, it has come under growing pressure to impose stricter border controls.
Charities have partnered to respond to the increasing crisis, as tens of thousands of others continue to move from the area west of Aleppo, near Idlib, towards the Oncupinar gate.
The Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation has set up a new camp for 10,000 refugees and continues to operate a further eight near Bab al-Salama. It is also providing food for 20,000 refugees. Aid convoys, medical teams and ambulances crossed into Syria on Monday.
Over the past few days, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Syrian Arab Red Crescent were able to enter the besieged town of Moadamiyat al-Sham near Damascus to deliver emergency food and medical aid to more than 12,000 people.
With the number of registered Syrian refugees at 4.5 million, Syria continues to be the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.
Last week, the Supporting Syria and the Region conference took place in London, hosted by the UK, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the United Nations.
Bringing together leaders from around the world, the conference took on an ambitious new approach to provide longer-term support for refugees through concrete action on livelihoods and jobs. It also focused on improved access to education and opportunities for refugees to develop the skills they need for a better future.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised the conference which raised a record 10 billion dollars, stating, “Never has the international community raised so much money on a single day for a single crisis.”
Prime Minister David Cameron pledged another £1.2bn, more than doubling the UK’s share of international aid, making this the biggest humanitarian response in British history. He said: “Today’s pledge of more than £2.3bn in UK aid sets the standard for the international community – more money is needed to tackle this crisis and it is needed now.”
The Oxfam Syria Crisis Fair Share report released earlier last week also hailed the British contribution to humanitarian efforts changing the lives of Syrian refugees.
Along with the UK government, UK charities have been making advances in relief efforts.
Hand in Hand for Syria has been mobilising supporters across the UK to donate or collect medical supplies and clothing, among other items. The organisation arranges Big Aid Drops three times a year. With a heroic team of aid workers on the ground risking their lives, supplies are able to reach 90% of Syria, often in hard-to-access locations.
Syria Relief offers humanitarian aid to rural areas and some conflict zones within Syria. Providing healthcare, including emergency surgery, water and sanitation services, as well as assisting orphans and sponsoring 43 schools inside Syria, Syria Relief aims to bring care to the country’s 7.6 million internally displaced people.
War Child is another charity working on providing sustainable and intensive support to the most vulnerable and marginalised Syrian children and young people. The charity’s main priority is to address long-term social and economic issues, rather than simply handing out money.
Other ways you can help charities
There are many ways you can help support Syrians in their struggle for a better existence. As well as donating to the charities mentioned in this article – and helping them with volunteering and fundraising – please explore the work being done to alleviate the hardships being faced by Syrians by our other partner charities.