News Room / Press Releases
Islamic Relief makes urgent appeal to UN/Arab League to negotiate a humanitarian ceasefire for Syria.
24 February 2012
Heavy snow impedes access to the Syria-Lebanon border
“It was heart-breaking for us to see the city of Homs from across the border in Lebanon and yet not be able to get through to provide humanitarian aid,”
Moustafa Osman, Islamic Relief.
Islamic Relief has welcomed the appointment of Kofi Annan as the UN and Arab League’s joint special envoy to deal with the Syria crisis, and has made an urgent appeal to Mr Annan and the UN’s Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, to negotiate the creation of a ‘humanitarian corridor’ for humanitarian and medical aid.
“We are deeply committed to seeing that civilian life is protected in all circumstances and that humanitarian needs are met,” say letters to Mr Annan and Ms Amos sent on February 24 by Islamic Relief’s CEO, Dr Mohamed Ashmawey. “We support the ICRC’s call for a two-hour ceasefire to make it possible to deliver humanitarian aid safely and impartially to those affected, and we urge you to put the weight of the United Nations and the Arab League behind it.”
Dr Ashmawey’s letters follow a visit this week to Lebanon and Jordan’s borders with Syria by an Islamic Relief assessment team. That team was led by the organisation’s Head of Humanitarian and Emergency Response, Moustafa Osman. “There are already around 20,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan and there could be many more soon if events in Syria continue at their current level of intensity,” he says. “It was heart-breaking for us to see the city of Homs from across the border in Lebanon and yet not be able to get through to provide humanitarian aid.”
The conflict in Syria stems from an uprising that began with demonstrations against the government in the country’s major cities in March 2011. In April military forces began to besiege Daraa and by June the city was reported to be in famine conditions, with no supplies being allowed in. The latest focus of concern is Homs, where reports say hundreds of people have been killed in recent days.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. To arrange an interview with Moustafa Osman, please contact Safiya Sayed Baharun (+44-7872-403534, firstname.lastname@example.org ).
2. Islamic Relief is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee in the UK and operates in over 26 countries worldwide.