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Wakeup Call: 'Humanitarian Aid in Syria is Used as Weapon of War'

© AFP 2023 / LOUAI BESHARAAid convoys carrying food, medicine and blankets, leave the Syrian capital Damascus as they head to the besieged town of Madaya on January 11, 2015
Aid convoys carrying food, medicine and blankets, leave the Syrian capital Damascus as they head to the besieged town of Madaya on January 11, 2015 - Sputnik International
An Oxfam report says that some affluent countries have been giving a smaller percentage of their "fair share" in aid to Syrians.

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"Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK continue to give generously while major donors Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the US have contributed a smaller percentage of their fair share," the anti-poverty charity Oxfam said.

The humanitarian organization accused better-off countries of not offering enough aid funding and resettlement places to Syrians.

Radio Sputnik discussed this issue with Daniel Gorevan, one of the authors of the report and the head of Oxfam's campaign for the Syria Crisis.“For the third year in a row the international response to the Syrian crisis in terms of funding and aid appeals have been very poor, so this is consistently going on year after year where rich countries are failing to do collectively what they should in order to help increasingly desperate Syrians and what we are seeing over the past year is the accumulative effect of this neglect.”

He further said that, “We have seen aid cuts across the board for refugees and crisis affected Syrians which has been nothing but devastating. We are hoping that the participants in the London conference will see this as a wakeup call and an opportunity to turn struggling aid response, as well as offer more safe and legal routes for refugees who are particularly vulnerable to be relocated from the region to those rich countries.”

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The author further explained the factors that the Oxfam campaign took into consideration when estimating the fair share of the humanitarian aid. He said that they look at the overall appeal, the size of the donor’s economy and then they determined what would be the fair share.

“As violence continues to escalate there are more and more people who need assistance. If you are looking at the humanitarian need inside Syria then aid and funding is only a part of the issue. It’s also about the huge levels of violence that people face as they are being bombarded and deliberately targeted.”

“The aid so far has been used as a weapon of war, as it has not been allowed into besieged communities and there are a lot of restrictions on humanitarian workers reaching the people that need the most assistance,” Gorevan said.

Talking about how the humanitarian aid is being used as a weapon of war, the author said that particularly it is food and medical supplies not being allowed into areas that are besieged. He said that there is a complete disregard for international humanitarian law and norms where they deliberately obstruct through different parties which is of serious concern.

He said that this aid is vital as it can be used in assistance to refugees. Gorevan spoke about his experience when he went to visit a refugee camp in Lebanon and due to extreme cold people in the camp were burning plastic bottles inside their tents because the ration that they were given was not enough.

Talking about the Syrian donor convention which is set to kick off this week, the author said that they want the rich countries that will attend the event to focus on the types of cases they can help people. “These countries easily have the power to extend their generosity so we are really asking them to focus on crisis affected Syrians,” Gorevan concluded.

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