Six years on from when it began on March 15 2011, the brutal and agonising Syrian conflict shows no signs of ending any time soon. Islamic Relief continues to deliver food, shelter, medicines and other aid on a huge scale as this most challenging of humanitarian crises enters a seventh year.
With your support we have provided over £130 million worth of aid and assisted more than 8 million Syrians in need since the conflict began, operating deep inside Syria and assisting refugees and host communities in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. The needs are enormous still, and international support for the UN relief operation has tailed off, so we rely on your continuing generosity to fund this life-saving work.
A staggering 13.5 million people inside Syria alone now need humanitarian aid, and 4.5 million of these are living in hard-to-reach and besieged areas. Over half the population have been forced to flee their homes.
Many have lost or had to leave behind family members as well as their homes and livelihoods. Millions have undertaken dangerous journeys across land and sea in search of a safe haven, most ending up in makeshift refugee camps where harsh living conditions continue to test them, especially in the freezing winter months.
Our relief operation in the region in 2016 demonstrates the scale of our response. In one year alone your donations have enabled us to support more than three million people by providing them with food, shelter, healthcare and education.
In particular, in 2016 we:
Mohib Kaddor, a surgeon at the Akrabat hospital in Idlib, Syria, sees the acute suffering of his people every day.
“Our medical work inside Syria is difficult and dangerous,” he says. “Sometimes we are forced to hide from a child that they have lost a mother or a brother. Talking becomes very tough for us.
“You may see a family of seven members and their home has been bombed, three of the children come to the hospital and three are wounded and trapped under the rubble, while another is missing. The children are screaming for their mother and father and there’s a state of panic in addition to the surgical needs of the injured children.
“I think the most difficult situation that I have been through was arriving at the operating room and seeing my own uncle facing the possibility of having his legs amputated. I was forced to rescue him with the other doctors. How I wish the crisis in our country and the war would end soon so that people can live in peace.”
Sadly, Mohib’s story is just one of thousands we have heard while carrying out our operations in Syria. An entire generation of young children have nothing but stories of horror and despair to tell, while their parents grieve for the childhood they have lost. Most of them simply cannot attend school and may grow up without any education and with few opportunities for a better future, unless peace and major reconstruction come soon.
We will continue to deliver vital aid and do our utmost to keep hope alive, with your support, until this most complex of conflicts is finally resolved.