Syrian Relief Groups Call for Ceasefire in Qusair to Evacuate Thousands of Wounded Civilians

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ARCS Members Secure Limited Number of Medical Supplies, More Needed to Address Humanitarian Situation

The American Relief Coalition for Syria (ARCS) condemns the deadly atrocities in Qusair and calls upon the international community to implement an immediate ceasefire in Syria to help evacuate the 1,500 wounded people in the besieged city. ARCS urges the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the US administration and the international community to fulfill their responsibilities in the time of military conflict to help protect civilians in Qusair and address the ongoing grave humanitarian situation.

The UN estimates that scores have been killed and approximately 1,500 severely injured, of which 60 percent are women and children in Qusair. Strategically situated miles from the Lebanese border, Qusair has been under siege by Assad’s forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia since April blocking the entry of most humanitarian groups to deliver aid and medical supplies.

SEE: Red Cross pushing for access to Syria’s besieged Qusair – Reuters

According to eyewitness accounts, more than 60 percent of the residents are now displaced, with little or no access to basic services. The remaining population of approximately 25,000 is trapped in Qusair with severe risk of injury, food insecurity and malnutrition if the international community chooses to stand by idly.

In response, members of ARCS have secured $200,000 in donations for immediate relief, including food and medical supplies. Most of the pledges have been delivered along routes on the Turkish border to local hospitals and NGO’s. However, doctors on the ground in Qusair report that the current monetary supply is not enough, and will cover barely 20 percent of the city’s immediate needs. The local hospital, with only four operating rooms, is already operating at full capacity every day.

Some ARCS members have secured containers with clothes and medical supplies but it is increasingly difficult for foreign humanitarian groups to act in Qusair due to the increased violence. The humanitarian crisis in Qusair comes amid a new UN report detailing the sharp rise in the civilian death toll.

ARCS urges the US administration to:

  • work with regional powers and the international community to negotiate an immediate ceasefire,
  • establish safe zones within Qusair to ensure the safe delivery of relief supplies,
  • create reliable and safe routes for humanitarian agencies to evacuate the wounded and provide life-saving treatment and supplies,
  • pledge $5 Million over the next four weeks to increase delivery of medical supplies and humanitarian aid through established Syrian American relief organizations.

ARCS, which was formed in early April of this year, is a group of 18 US-based relief and humanitarian organizations whose focus is to facilitate humanitarian assistance for Syria and respond to emergency situations. 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
Karam Foundation
Shaam Relief Foundation
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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Rashad Al Dabbagh
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