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Aid worker with Save the Children partner killed in Syria

Save the Children, 31st May 2016 


Save the Children strongly condemns last night's bombardment of Idlib and Aleppo in northern Syria, which killed a staff member of a Save the Children partner organisation, along with many other civilians.

The 23-year-old aid worker – who was part of an emergency response team training volunteers on first aid and rescue during airstrikes – was trying to rescue families that were trapped under the rubble following a strike on their building in Idlib, when a subsequent airstrike killed him and several others. He is the second staff member of his organisation, “Violet,” which delivers healthcare, food and other aid in Idlib, to be killed in bombing since the start of 2015.

Sonia Khush, head of Save the Children in Syria, said: “Northern Syria is again being plunged into chaos and bloodshed, with a surge in bombing, displacement and suffering over the past week. We rely heavily on local partners to ensure that aid reaches those who need it most – but with each passing day, it is becoming harder and more dangerous for them to deliver food, water and medicine to families and children in desperate need. The death of brave Syrian aid workers like our colleague from “Violet” – who was killed while saving the life of others – is a loss not only to his family and his organisation, but to Syria’s future.”

Save the Children is extremely concerned at the continued attacks on health facilities and personnel, and blatant disregard for international humanitarian law. Last night’s airstrikes in Aleppo affected three hospitals and damaged an operating room. In Idlib bombs fell close to two hospitals, forcing them to reduce services at a time when they are most needed. There were at least 45 attacks on health facilities reported in the first quarter of 2016 – one every two days – despite the supposed ceasefire during part of that time.

A staff member at a Save the Children partner in Idlib said: “The intensity of the airstrikes was unbelievable – I counted eight in just five minutes, hitting crowded civilian neighbourhoods. Families are trapped under the rubble of their homes. There were strikes near a hospital twice in 30 minutes.” The latest attacks come as violence rages across northwestern Syria. Thousands of people are still trapped by fighting over the past few days around Azaz and northern Aleppo. The city of Aleppo is at risk of becoming completely besieged due to heavy bombing along the only remaining road in and out of the city.

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact: a.klein@savethechildren.org.uk or 07587038492


Notes to editors:
- Save the Children works with local partners to run health and education programmes across northern Syria, including supporting seven health clinics. Save the Children recently supported measles and polio vaccination campaigns for more than 280,000 children.
- More information on Violet’s work
- We’ve obtained audio from the long-besieged area of Darayya, in which inhabitants describe vividly their struggle to survive. One teacher talks about how an aid convoy was turned away and civilians awaiting the aid distribution were bombed; she also says that children are now so malnourished that they are too exhausted to learn or even stand up, whilst 11 year-old Rasha* describes the desperate lack of food:
New audio clip from 11 year old Rasha* and teacher Sireen*, recorded in Darayya on Monday 16th May:
• Previous audio recording of Sireen*, collected on Friday 13th May