GRC’s humanitarian assistance in Syria

Despite the difficult security situation in Syria, German Red Cross has been providing assistance inside Syria since the beginning of 2012. A GRC delegate in Damascus coordinates GRC's relief activities in Syria which are implemented together with and through the national society, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).

The conflict in Syria has turned into the biggest humanitarian crisis worldwide. Since the beginning of the conflict, more than 250 000 people have been killed and over one million people have been injured. More than half of all Syrians have been displaced, many of them several times.

Today more than 13.5 million people are dependent on humanitarian assistance, out of which 5.6 million are children. SARC volunteers and staff are constantly in action to attend to those needs. In this crisis, SARC is one of the few organisations that has access to the conflict areas in order to be able to provide relief assistance. In some areas the SARC is in fact the only organisation that is able to perform first aid, evacuate the sick and injured and supply people with vital relief supplies. SARC is therefore the most important player for the entire humanitarian operation and for the distribution of relief supplies in Syria. Together with the ICRC, the SARC has also taken on an important role in the exchange of prisoners of war and the exchange of bodies of soldiers who had been killed during the fighting between the conflicting parties.

  • Provision of lifesaving assistance

    Humanitarian access to the people in Syria who depend on assistance remains limited due to the constantly changing frontlines between the conflicting parties, due to administrative and bureaucratic obstacles, due to violence along the access routes, due to the disregarding and breach of international humanitarian law as well as due to the general security concerns. On account of the complexity of the context and the constantly changing political and social dynamics, effective emergency assistance inside Syria is therefore a major challenge.

    SARC’s volunteers and aid workers take the highest of personal risks – to date 53 of them have been killed while carrying out their humanitarian duty and far more have been injured, abducted or imprisoned.

    The assistance provided by the German Red Cross in 2015 continued to be lifesaving assistance. This included above all the provision of food, supplementary medical food for babies and small children as well as the provision of everyday necessities, like hygiene products for various age groups. This provision of relief items is supplemented by supporting the logistics capacities and infrastructure of SARC which is key in order to be able to implement such a large and complex humanitarian operation. This support of the logistics capacities includes the renting, repair and operation of warehouses all over the country, the procurement of vehicles, forklifts, trucks and other logistical equipment as well as the training of aid workers in logistical procedures.

    Not only the relief supplies of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are being distributed via this logistical infrastructurethroughout the country  but also those of other relief organisations (such as the UN). The support of the GRC is thereforean important contribution to the overall humanitarian relief operation in Syria.

  • Cooperation in assistance

    Since 2012, the German Red Cross has been able to provide humanitarian assistance in Syria in collaboration with the SARC thanks to the funding provided by the German Federal Foreign Office, the European Commission's Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) European Union as well as by the Norwegian and Belgian governments.:

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