Relief organizations, Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) and local councils have made an emergency appeal titled “Before the Disaster Strikes” to stave off the bitter cold weather expected with the approach of winter. Dozens of displaced persons and refugees died over the past four years as a result of snowstorms and bitter cold which struck the region.
At a press conference held in Istanbul earlier today, the appeal was made by a number of prominent figures, most notably Secretary General of the International Union for Muslim Scholars Ali Qaradaghi, Islamic preacher Salman al-Awda, head of the Orthodox Church in Idlib Ibrahim Farah, ACU’s head Orhan Mohammed, media activist Hadi al-Abdullah, director of Civil Defense in Syria Raed Saleh, and representative of the World Relief Committee Hamza Al-Abdullah.
They warned of the repetition of the tragic events that occurred during last year’s snowstorms, when dozens of children, women and the elderly died in the refugee camps because of the freezing temperatures, lack of heating, poor response, and road blocks caused by snow and flooding.
Dr. Salman al-Awda calls on the international community, civil society organizations, charities and relief organizations to provide aid to the Syrian people, particularly those who are displaced persons and refugees.
Orhan Mohammed said refugee camps in the north and in neighboring countries are in danger of collapse with the first waves of the upcoming winter storms, adding that the displaced persons and refugees are living in very miserable conditions.
He pointed out that the Assad regime has used hunger, disease and displacement as instruments of war against the Syrian people, adding that about 25,000 families have been displaced inside Syria in September alone as a result of the Russian aggression compared to 27,000 families in two years.
Head of the Orthodox Church in Idlib Ibrahim Farah calls upon relief and humanitarian organizations to form a lobbyist groups to press for supporting the Syrian people before winter, stressing that ending the suffering of displaced persons and refugees can only be achieved through a just political solution that ensures the safe return of all the Syrians to their homes.
Media activist Hadi al-Abdullah urges relief organizations and Arab countries to act urgently before the disaster strikes, stressing that Russian airstrikes have so far failed to tip the balance on the ground as almost all regime offensives have been repelled. He emphasizes that 80% of the Russian airstrikes have targeted civilians, service and health facilities.
Abdullah calls for putting pressure on the Lebanese government to stop the Hezbollah’s militia crimes against the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, citing many Syrian refugee abductions taking place in Lebanon recently.
The director of Civil Defense in Syria Raed Saleh noted that the disaster has already struck when Khirbat al-Jouz refugee camp in rural Idlib was flooded yesterday as a result of the heavy rain, adding that the Russian aggression has exacerbated the crisis and the suffering of displaced persons and refugees. Saleh expressed willingness to coordinate with relief organizations to stave off the winter storms that are expected to hit the region. (Source: Syrian Coalition)