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International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
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Syria Two Years On: The Failure of International Aid So Far
Medecins Sans Frontieres
15 March 2013
(…) Despite repeated requests, MSF has not received permission from the government to work in the country, but has been able to open three hospitals in the opposition-held areas in the north where assistance remains well below the level of the needs. (…)
Since the first protests broke out in Syria in March 2011, the country has spiralled into all-out war. Violent fighting continues between the national army and opposition groups who have gained territory – and civilians pay a heavy price. As the conflict intensifies, health workers and medical facilities continue to receive threats while medical structures are targeted and destroyed. (…)
In the regions in northern Syria where MSF is working, people have suffered great loss and devastation. This is especially true in the urban and semi-urban areas that are bombed indiscriminately and where there are large gatherings of people, such as markets and bread queues – which have been targeted by the air force.
In addition to the physical devastation, the country’s social and economic systems have broken down, and civilians are the first to suffer. Despite a massive outpouring of local solidarity, the ongoing conflict has brought the healthcare system to its knees, while living conditions have severely deteriorated. Meanwhile, resources are running out and peoples’ capacity to help each other is being tested. (…)
There are major obstacles preventing the increase of aid to both government and rebel-held areas. The government is limiting humanitarian aid; because of the control exercised by Damascus, assistance can hardly be expanded and aid organisations face huge difficulties crossing front lines. Meanwhile, in the north of the country, insecurity caused by fighting and bombing is compounded by political and diplomatic constraints, seriously limiting the amount of aid. (…)

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