The crisis in Syria drags on to the point where a new word, more dreadful and protracted than crisis, is called for. We hear first-hand stories of absolute atrocities on a depressingly daily basis. We are working indirectly alongside a number of our long-term volunteers to bring support in various ways.
Some of our volunteers are working from Turkey, delivering aid to Turkish (and Kurdish) charities, who are able to pass it through a few of the border crossings. Others have at various times been inside Syria itself, delivering aid to partners, some of whom are friends we made when travelling through Syria en route to Gaza back in 2009. On occasion our help extends simply to providing financial support to some of these families — a drop in the ocean, but a way of ensuring that every penny helps people in real need and is not propping up (any) armed groups, which is a constant danger when funding larger-scale projects.
We wish we could do more. The reality though is that it is extremely dangerous, to the point of irresponsible, to consider sending international volunteers into much of Syria at this time. International volunteers are at extremely high risk of abduction. Of particular concern here is the widespread perception that a great many organisations, particularly media organisations, are routinely paying enormous ransoms.
Nevertheless, your continued concern, and what small amount of support that we are able to provide, is incredibly welcome and well-received; there is an enormous emotional resonance to help being sent from afar, all the more so because of how long this conflict has been going on. It’s important that people don’t feel forgotten, on top of everything else.