An aid plan for Syria

Tue, Jun 19, 2012, 01:00

Sir, – A humanitarian aid plan has been agreed on by the UN and Syrian authorities, allowing a handful of agencies already operating in Syria to provide aid. The question is whether the plan will target the people who need it most.

We at Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF) believe that simply supplying hospitals with medicine and equipment is not an adequate response. It is vital that all victims of the conflict – the wounded and patients who need emergency care – receive treatment. Increasing treatment capacity is essential.

There is also a crucial omission: the plan fails to address the need for hospitals to be neutral, for patients to receive treatment impartially, and for doctors to be able to work without threats of reprisal.

MSF’s teams of doctors and surgeons are on standby to leave for Syria, but our repeated requests to the Syrian authorities for permission to work in the country have been denied. In the meantime we are supporting networks of Syrian doctors from neighbouring countries, treating people wounded or tortured in Syria at a hospital in Jordan, and providing medical and psychological care to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

As soon as we receive permission, our teams will cross into Syria to help provide the impartial medical assistance that the victims of Syria’s violence urgently need.

For all the parties engaging in dialogue with the Syrian authorities, the victims of the conflict should be the priority. – Yours, etc,


Head of Office,

Médecins Sans Frontières,

Upper Baggot Street,

Dublin 4.