Irish aid agency warns of ever increasing humanitarian crisis in Syria

Violence has seeped into every aspect of life for people in Syria after six years of civil war, an Ireland based aid agency has warned.

Concern Worldwide hit out at the international community and wealthier countries after it found a £147m (170m euro) shortfall in the funding needed for protection for ordinary citizens in their homes, schools, at work or on the street.

The agency called on the UK, the US, France, China and Russia - the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - to do more to ease the humanitarian crisis.

Concern chief executive Dominic MacSorley said the lack of a guaranteed access to the war-torn country is the greatest obstacle to humanitarian assistance.

"After six years of war, violence is all-pervasive in Syria," he said.

"It is not confined to the bombing, missile attacks and wanton destruction of cities like Aleppo that we witness through news reports.

"It has seeped into every aspect of Syrian life to the point where Syrians do not feel safe in any environment, not even in their own homes," he said.

Concern’s Shattered Lives

report, released as the sixth anniversary of the war approaches, comes on the back of research by Save the Children which found some Syrian youngsters are showing symptoms of "toxic stress" and are attempting self-harm and suicide in response to prolonged exposure to war.

Mr McSorley warned that humanitarian aid cannot be used as a substitute for failed diplomacy.

"Right now, it may seem like the prospect of an end to the bloodshed in Syria is impossible, but the recent disarmament process in Colombia and, closer to home, the peace process in Northern Ireland, has shown us that solutions can be found in even the most seemingly intractable of conflicts," he said.

Concern’s report said that almost one million people in Syria are besieged in 16 different areas of the country.

Its report gathered first-hand accounts of the effect of the war from 65 civilians, some of whom are being supported by humanitarian aid in the north of the country.

It said violence against women in the home and sexual harassment and violence has increased across the country during the war with "many women" reporting husbands quicker to hit them, the research found.

Concern, a Dublin-based global aid agency, said the increased abuse is due to the increased psychosocial toll of the war.

It said men face greater risk of arrest, detention and harassment from the security services, recruitment into armed groups, disappearance and death.

On top of the calls for more funding from the international community and a renewed diplomatic effort, Concern said education and social media campaigning is key to stopping children from joining armed groups.

It also called for more focus on psychosocial support for girls and women and increasing the access to safe spaces.

Reporting: Ed Carty, Press Association

KEYWORDS: Syria, Concern


Most Read in World