20 December 2016 | Salaamedia
South African humanitarian aid organisations have joined hands to collectively raise funds to aid the Syrian humanitarian crisis.
Under the auspices of the #SAveSyria campaign, the initiative hopes to provide some kind of humanitarian relief to thousands of people have fled to the Syrian-Turkish border and Idlib city in Syria following the Syrian regime victory over opposition forces in Aleppo.
The regime assault on the city was supported by Iranian, Iraqi and Hezbollah militiamen as well as the Russian air force. The battle for Aleppo has been seen as a key victory for President Bashar Al Assad and his allies.
Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut Regional office said, “The reports that civilians – including children – are being massacred in cold blood in their homes by Syrian government forces are deeply shocking but not unexpected given their conduct to date. Such extrajudicial executions would amount to war crimes.”
Human Rights Watch has also documented the grotesque nature of the attacks on Aleppo and other parts of Syria.
The brutality of the attacks has increased the already dire humanitarian needs of those who have fled Aleppo. The five year war has left close to 500 000 people dead and in 2016, the United Nations (UN) identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance, of which more than 6 million are internally displaced within Syria, and over 4.8 million are refugees outside of Syria. Turkey is the largest host country with over 2.7 million Syrian refugees..
Among those behind the #SAveSyria initiative in South Africa have been social activists’ Yusuf Abramjee, Yaseen Theba and Catherine Constantinides.
“An urgent decision was taken at the weekend to make Aleppo and other parts of Syria the first project. We cannot sit back and see the suffering continue. Innocent men, women and children are being slaughtered and thousands are crying for help. Many local and foreign charities are assisting but we all need to DO much more. There is an urgent need for food, medical supplies, blankets, mattresses and shelter,” said Abramjee.
South African satellite TV channel, ITV (DSTV 347) was scheduled to host a pledge line on Tuesday evening from 7.30pm to 11.30pm to collect the funds and encourage public participation.
“We are delighted so many NGO’s and media organizations have joined hands. We stand united for a common purpose – to help those in need,” said Abramjee.
The organisations that will benefit from the funds collected are the Alimdaad Foundation, Africa Muslims Agency, Jamiatul Ulama SA, Jamiatul Ulama KZN, the Muslim Judicial Council, the Al Quds Foundation and Islamic Relief.