Ahead of the Geneva peace talks, Islamic Relief has joined leading humanitarian voices in calling for action now to improve access to war-torn Syria.

Joining with other signatories to an official UNRWA statement, Islamic Relief has renewed its push for humanitarian access to communities trapped in the brutal conflict – many of whom continue to suffer in besieged camps such as Yarmouk, in Damascus.

The call comes ahead of the long-awaited second Geneva peace conference, which is due to begin in Switzerland on Wednesday.

According to the latest United Nations figures, around 9.3 million people in Syria are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance, with about 6.5 million now displaced inside the country.

 

UNRWA Official Statement on Yarmouk: How Much Longer?

“How much longer must children suffer from hunger? How much longer must women die in childbirth for lack of medical care? How much longer must we be barred from the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus and the many thousands of desperate and vulnerable civilians caught up in Syria’s conflict? How much longer will we allow such unimaginable civilian suffering?

“We, the international humanitarian community, call on the participants of the Geneva Peace Talks to lift the restrictions on Yarmouk refugee camp and all areas of humanitarian need in Syria.

“Yarmouk was home to some 160,000 people before the fighting, but much of the camp has been destroyed by the conflict, and today about 18,000 people remain trapped inside, many of them women and children. With reports of malnutrition, people eating animal feed, a severe lack of medical services, and water and electricity almost nonexistent, we fear that time is running out for those trapped in Yarmouk.”

The scores of signatories to the statement aim to reach 23 million people – one for each member of the Syrian population – with their call for action.

 

Islamic Relief has been working inside Syria since 2011 and pushed for improved access and humanitarian corridors in its ‘Syria: Two years, too long’ campaign. We are currently providing vital assistance to vulnerable families in Syria and nearby countries, as they grapple with the impact of the violence and gruelling winter conditions.