Press release

Christian Aid alongside 14 agencies, calls for an end to violence in North-East Syria

Christian Aid has joined 14 other agencies to call for an end to the violence which threatens further chaos and instability in Syria, following the Turkish invasion in the north-east.

The joint statement says:

“An estimated 450,000 people live within 5km of the Syria-Turkey border and are at risk if all sides do not exercise maximum restraint and prioritise the protection of civilians. The population includes more than 90,000 internally displaced people, who have already been forced to flee their homes at least once in Syria’s unrelenting war.”

Máiréad Collins, Christian Aid’s Senior Advocacy Adviser for Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, said:

“We foresee the danger of a humanitarian disaster in the northeast. Reports today that aid workers are fleeing over the border to Turkey on the advice of their organisations, highlights the desperation faced by communities caught in this crisis, where the lack of capacity to respond will only exacerbate the mounting disaster.

“Our partner, active in these areas, has spoken of their fears of increased violence from ISIS and the breakdown in good relations that local organisations have worked so hard to build, in conflict ridden areas.

“Many displaced people living in informal tented settlements or in cramped conditions in rented accommodation rely on the support of local community organisations to help them survive and get their lives back on track. The current military action will mean a severe disruption of aid efforts, which will not only severely hamper the recovery of those already in need but will limit the ability to provide life-saving aid to those who require it now.

“If the international community turns away now, we could severely impact the ability of local organisations to provide support in the midst of the escalating violence.”

Christian Aid’s new report – ‘Syrian Civil Society, A Closing Window’ warns that a window of opportunity for society to flourish is now closing, and calls for funding and support to be maintained, for Syrians who have defended human rights and strived for social progress for years.

For Syrian organisations working in this area, there is grave concern that there will be a reduction in support which would devastate the vital work of aid workers and the freedoms for Syrian people.