Closure of Mercy Corps' humanitarian aid operations in Damascus
For nearly two years, Mercy Corps has been delivering humanitarian aid through the most direct routes from across borders in northern Syria to more than 1.7 million civilians who are suffering. Since 2013, we have also maintained aid-delivery operations from Damascus into south-central Syria — with the consent of the Syrian government — serving more than 350,000 affected civilians.
We have distributed essential items including food, blankets, clothing, winter survival kits, emergency water and sanitation. In addition, we're providing psycho-social assistance to children suffering from extreme stress.
As of the end of April, Mercy Corps ceased its operations in Damascus, following a request from Syrian government authorities to stop delivering humanitarian assistance from across borders into non-government-controlled territory inside Syria. Syrian government authorities informed Mercy Corps it could no longer operate from Damascus if it did not cease these operations.
As an independent and impartial humanitarian organization, Mercy Corps’ mandate is to deliver essential aid to civilians in need in Syria on all sides of the conflict, irrespective of race, ethnicity, religion or political affiliation.
We will continue operations in the north of Syria, reaching 1.7 million people in need, even as we are deeply disappointed by the closure of our Damascus-based operations. Consistent with U.N. Security Council resolution 2139, which seeks to increase humanitarian access to people in need, we firmly believe that all parties should facilitate the expansion of humanitarian relief operations.