Syria

Statement by Kevin Kennedy, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, on Violence Impacting Aid Workers in North-West Syria, 18 October 2020 [EN/AR]

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I am deeply concerned over a recent spate of violence impacting aid workers in north-west Syria where over 2.8 million women, children and men are in urgent need of life-saving assistance.

In Syria, humanitarian workers continue to pay a heavy price while helping vulnerable communities in need. Since the start of the crisis in March 2011, hundreds of humanitarian workers and health workers have been killed or injured in the line of duty.

On Thursday, two Syrian aid workers and their driver were injured, one of them critically, after the car they were travelling in from a project site in Salqin city was hit by shrapnel resulting from a drone attack on another car travelling in the area.

The incident follows two other incidents in which humanitarians have been caught up in the violence in just over a month in the north-west.

On 14 September, a staff member of the Turkish Red Crescent was killed and another was injured when unidentified, masked gunmen opened fire on their vehicle north of Al Bab town in eastern rural Aleppo, while on the same day, a doctor working for the Syrian organization Hand in Hand for Aid and Development was killed along with a staff member of a local relief organization, and at least 11 other civilians were injured, when a car bomb detonated in Afrin city.

Humanitarians work in accordance with the humanitarian principles of independence, neutrality, and impartiality, and such violence is completely unacceptable. It’s critical all steps are taken to increase the protection of these women and men to ensure an effective sustainable humanitarian response on the ground.

These unsung heroes risk their lives each day to provide life-saving assistance to over 11 million women, children and men in need in Syria today. I urgently remind all parties to the conflict of their obligations under international humanitarian law to safeguard their safety and security.

For further information, please contact: David Swanson, Public Information Officer, OCHA Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (ROMENA), Amman, swanson@un.org, Tel: +962 791 417 882

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.