Newly Formed Coalition of American Relief Organizations Supporting Syria, ARCS, Launches $1 Million Campaign to Save Homs

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16 American relief and humanitarian organizations announce the newly formed American Relief Coalition for Syria (ARCS) whose focus is to facilitate humanitarian assistance for Syria and respond to emergency situations.

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A group of 16 American relief and humanitarian organizations today announce the newly formed American Relief Coalition for Syria (ARCS) whose focus is to facilitate humanitarian assistance for Syria and respond to emergency situations. As its first effort, ARCS has immediately launched a $1 million campaign to help the urgent situation in Homs, Syria.

The campaign is in response to an urgent plea from aid organizations working in Homs, where the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate with basic medical supplies and food items beginning to deplete. The campaign will provide urgent financial assistance to the blockaded populations in Homs and prevent another wave of internal displacement and fleeing of a large number of refugees to Lebanon. The recent shelling of Al-Waar district-home to more than 500,000 people, most of whom were displaced from other areas in Homs-has exacerbated an already escalating aid crisis.

On March 3-4, 2013, representatives of the 16 U.S.-based NGOs comprising ARCS met to map the current relief efforts and increase capacity through collaboration and advocacy. The member organizations have raised and distributed more than $45 million combined in the last year towards humanitarian and medical relief inside Syria. The meeting was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, Representative of the Syrian Opposition Coalition Najib Ghadbian, as well as by representatives of UNHCR, UNOCHA, the State Department, USAID, Treasury Department, Commerce Department, ICRC, InterAction and many other NGOs and foundations.

As the Syrian humanitarian crisis enters its third year unabated, it brings disastrous fallouts in most areas of the country. In addition to the large number of refugees in neighboring countries-more than 1 million and estimated by UNHCR to grow at 14,000 new refugees every day-an ever-increasing number of people are in need inside Syria, presently estimated to be more than 7 million, most of whom live in remote areas with limited access to humanitarian assistance.

SEE: UN refugee chief: Aid agencies overwhelmed as Syrian crisis worsens

ARCS calls on all donors to contribute generously to their organizations in order to meet the goals of the campaign and address the urgent needs in the city of Homs.

The Coalition also calls on President Obama, the State Department and USAID to respond to the deteriorating crisis in Homs and in Syria by increasing humanitarian assistance and introducing a resolution at the United Nations Security Council for cross-border humanitarian assistance.

The Coalition includes the following members:
Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS)
Syrian Sunrise Foundation (SSF)
Syria Relief and Development (SRD)
NuDay Syria
The Maram Foundation
Swasia Charity Foundation
Zakat Foundation
Syrian Orphans
Hope for Syria
Mercy Without Limits
Life for Relief and Development
Syrian American Engineers Association (SAEA)
Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies (SCPSS), advisory member
Syrian Expatriates Organization (SEO), advisory member
Syrian American Council (SAC), advisory member
United Charity, advisory member

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Yassar Bittar
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