Alexandria, VA – In the wake of news reports this past weekend about bombings taking place again in the Idlib province of Syria, Islamic Relief has issued a statement. The bombings killed several people, including women and children.
Islamic Relief is the largest Muslim-based humanitarian and advocacy organization has issued a statement. The following first-hand account is from Ahmad Aldamen, senior program official for Islamic Relief who is based in Idlib.
Innocent Lives Lost in Tragic Bombing
“The bombing over the weekend was heavier than usual and had tragic consequences. Several children lost their lives. It also led to large-scale displacement,” Aldamen said. “In areas where there is bombing every day like Northern Hama, there are fewer casualties. As people go underground and they are better prepared. Thankfully, we have supplied the hospitals in the affected areas with drugs and disposables as we are trying to make sure that all hospitals are prepared for these kind of attacks. These hospitals have seen a lot worse.”
Constant Stress, Danger Looming
“Life is very stressful as it’s not clear when and where there will be attacks. It’s like life is hanging in the balance. Life is getting back to normal in some places in terms of security but the economy has never been this bad. People can’t invest in any long-term ventures as safety is never guaranteed,” Aldamen added. “Thankfully, we are able to get aid inside Syria working alongside local partners. And the attacks at the weekend have not stopped this. But many NGOs and donors are scaling down or are diverting aid from north-western Syria to the eastern part.”
“And important aid projects, including support to hospitals, have finished. This is very dangerous,” he continued.
“The needs are as big as ever. There are 4 million people in Idlib now and at least half are displaced. There are huge displaced people’s camps with no infrastructure and very poor education and health facilities. People have lost their livelihoods and they are really struggling; living in appalling conditions,” Aldamen said.
Weather Adds New Challenges
“This is only going to get worse as it has started raining; there have been floods and the cold weather is settling in. One area in particular, Khirbet al Jouz, is very difficult. It is a border village in north-western Idlib. It’s a mountainous region and therefore much colder and there’s no infrastructure, nothing, and no way for people to earn a living. The people who live here came from Latakia, which was a very poor area even before the war began.”
“I particularly remember meeting one man who was in despair. His land was burnt down and his house was damaged and he said he had literally nothing and didn’t know what to do,” he shared.
Islamic Relief is Providing Support
“We are supporting the people here; providing food, shelter, blankets and warm clothing and we are also supporting the hospitals in the area. But there are so many people in desperate need who are not receiving aid. Unlike many NGOs, we do have access in Idlib and we can deliver it but we just don’t have enough of it,” Aldamen said
“ It’s also very sad that so many people are forced to live on the frontline, where it is unsafe or there is no aid, because they cannot afford to go anywhere else. They are condemned to a horrible life.”
Syed M. Hassan
(703) 370-7246 (landline)
(571) 421-7032 (cell)
Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and disease regardless of color, race, gender or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief USA aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects, allowing communities to better help themselves. Its programs benefit millions of people each year around the world, including in the United States.
Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.