British charities operating in Syria appeal for aid

Civilians carry their belongings as they flee the area after a Syrian Air Force fighter jet launched missiles at El-Edaa district in Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo, September 1, 2012. (Reuters)

British charities started a public appeal for assistance to the Syrian people on Wednesday, reported the BBC.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella organization representing a number of aid agencies, expressed the dire need for assistance for the Syrian people.

The dismal state of Syria’s humanitarian situation continues to be exacerbated by the two-year conflict, states the DEC.

While it has been possible to donate to the Syria appeal since early Wednesday, the official launch of the fundraiser started Thursday. The UK’s main media broadcasters, including the BBC, will take part.

The majority of DEC’s members already supported charitable initiatives inside Syria, however, further details couldn’t be disclosed without putting their work and workers at risk.

‘Urgent needs in Syria’

“Despite the efforts of our member agencies and others, there are huge and urgent un-met needs, both in Syria and the surrounding countries,” DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said.

“In Syria, the greatest challenge to meeting those needs remains the barriers to delivering aid which are faced by impartial humanitarian agencies such as our members,” he explained.

“The lack of funds are also a critical constraint though - both for work in Syria and the surrounding countries” which are struggling to take on the waves of Syrian refugees.

On Wednesday, staff with Islamic Relief, Save the Children, Christian Aid and the Catholic aid agency for England and Wales– all members of DEC - admitted for the first time that they were working inside Syria, The Independent reported.

“By coming together under the banner of the DEC we can reveal a little more about the extent of the aid effort inside Syria,” Saeed said.

The U.N. refugee body, UNHCR, says more than 400,000 Syrian refugees have fled Syria since Jan. 1, 2013. This number is expected to triple if the current crisis continues unchecked.

More than three million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes as the fighting spreads and at least 70,000 people have been killed, according to official U.N. estimates.

Last Update: Thursday, 21 March 2013 KSA 14:15 - GMT 11:15