Qatar helps 33,000 displaced people in Syria amid looming winter season

The total number of forcibly displaced people worldwide reached 89.3 million by the end of 2021.

Qatar is now providing internally displaced persons (IDP) in northern Syria with much-needed aid to cope with the harsh winter season under a newly-launched early winter response project.

Launched on Saturday, the initiative is a joint effort by Qatar Charity (QC) and the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD). 

The project comes under QC’s annual ‘Warm Hearts’ campaign that has continued to benefit 1.2 million people, including refugees, IDP’s and poor families.

“Their [Syrians] suffering is elevated every year in the camps due to the extreme cold, floods, rain, and snow, which all pose major challenges to their life, and put a heavy burden on them,” said Nouf Al-Kaabi, Director of QFFD’s Programs and Projects Department. 

The entities have already started the distribution process of aid to seven camps of IDP’s in northern Syria, with the aim of replacing damaged tents for nearly 33,000 people.

QC and QFFD are also set to distribute 6,600 bags of winter clothes along with additional 6,600 kits containing essentials, including blankets and mattresses.

Another batch of aid is equipped with 600 tents, 1,600 of winter clothes, and 1,600 winter kits.

“We, through this project, aim to reduce the effects of the cold on the IDPs in the camps of northern Syria,” said Mishaal Al Hajri, the regional coordinator of QC’s Turkey office.

With the winter season particularly affecting refugees and displaced populations living in fragile camps, Qatar has stepped up its efforts in providing urgent aid. 

Tents in refugee and IDP camps have no heating equipment as snowfall and rain could drown their only shelters. The harsh season only adds to their suffering, from loss to hunger.

This month, the Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) is set to provide much-needed aid to communities battling with the harsh winter season under its annual “Warm Winter” campaign.

The Qatari entity announced the launch of the campaign on Sunday under the theme “Humanity First: We Give Them Warmth”. The campaign is set to provide QAR 13.5 million of winter aid and projects to benefit 261,300 people.

Ongoing suffering

According to the UN, the total number of forcibly displaced people worldwide reached 89.3 million by the end of 2021. Out of the total reported, 27.1 million are refugees and 53.2 million are internally displaced.

Children also bear the brunt of war and conflict globally, making up an estimated 36.5 million (41%) of the total forcibly displaced people reported as 1.5 million children were born as refugees.

The ongoing war in Syria has resulted in 6.8 million refugees globally, representing the highest number reported. The decade-long war waged by the Bashar Al Assad regime has continued to force Syrians out of their lands.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that at least 1,271 civilians, including 229 children, and 104 victims of torture were killed in Syria in 2021 alone.

The UN Human Rights Office estimates more than 306,000 civilians have been killed over the span of 11 years in Syria, with independent rights group estimating the number to be much higher. 

Unlike some Arab states, namely Jordan and the UAE, Qatar has staunchly refused to normalise with the Assad regime for its ongoing crimes against Syrians.

Last month, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani slammed the lack of action in holding war criminals in Syria accountable and ending the suffering of the Syrian people.

“In our region the international community has failed to hold the war criminals in Syria accountable for what they [are] perpetuating. And in further disillusionment, some are seeking to turn the page on the tragedy of the Syrian people,” Amir Tamim told the UN.

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