Some Syrian Refugees Fleeing Sexual Violence, Says IRC Report

From A View From The Cave Mon Jan 14 2013, 20:37:00

Syrian refugees fleeing the violence caused by the civil war are facing further challenges once they leave Syria. An estimated 600,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring countries, but camps are struggling to meet the basic needs of the refugees. "Current assistance levels are drastically insufficient to address existing needs, let alone the barest requirements to respond to a lengthy humanitarian emergency and post-conflict recovery," says the International Rescue Committee's (IRC) Commission on Syrian Refugees in a report, Syria: A Regional Crisis, released today.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has repeatedly attempted to gain access to some of the hardest hit areas in Syria, but has been met by serious challenges. ICRC President Peter Maurer said that the situation in Syria was getting worse in mid-December even though the organization was able to expand services in country. The nature of the fighting forced ICRC staff to react to events and deliver services when possible rather than set up a permanent response.

The IRC report confirms many of the same challenges to reach Syrians citing a continually moving frontline of fighting and intimidation tactics used against medical professionals. Syria is deploying "a systematic campaign to restrict access to lifesaving care through the strategic bombing and forced closure of medical facilities," said physicians to IRC.

Violence extends beyond fighting found IRC. A significant number of the Syrian refugees interviewed for the report citied rape as a reason for fleeing the country. A 28-year-old woman from Dara'a described hearing an attack on her neighbor. "When they raided the house next door, we could hear the rape of my neighbor, my friend," she told IRC. "And then they arrested my brother and tortured him for days. He survived but they ...

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