May 22, 2015
Since the start of the uprising in 2011, a staggering two-thirds of the population in Syria have become in need of emergency assistance. International aid agencies have struggled to cope with spiralling humanitarian needs, dwindling funds and a lack of access to most of the areas where aid is vitally needed.
Throughout the course of the crisis, there have been multiple reports that aid kits destined for civilians and delivered by aid agencies are ending up in the hands of Assad’s militias. Earlier today, the Syrian Coalition received confirmation from activists on the ground that boxes of relief supplies were found in the Mastouma military base in Idlib -which was captured by rebel fighters on Tuesday, May 19. The boxes bore the logos of international aid organisations, including those of WFP, ICRC, UNICEF and UNHCR.
It is unacceptable that humanitarian aid should be stolen by Syrian regime forces. The UN must do more to prevent Assad’s forces from stealing life-saving assistance from the Syrian people. The Syrian Coalition therefore calls on the the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to make public its methodology regarding the administration and delivery of humanitarian aid, including that distributed through its partner in Syria, the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (IFRC). To date, UN aid operations in Syria have been insufficiently transparent and difficult to monitor. As a result, it has been impossible to track assistance deliveries, with little information on whom UN assistance ultimately reaches.
To ensure that further theft is not repeated, the Syrian Coalition also calls on the UN to conduct an investigation into the repeated cases of Assad’s militias being found in possession of relief supplies. The Syrian Coalition stands ready to provide any and all assistance to help facilitate such an inquiry. Aid supplies must reach those in need, not end up sustaining Assad’s war machine, which created the humanitarian crisis in the first place.