Christian Humanitarian Agency Opens 58 Food Centers to Provide for Civilians Fleeing War-torn Northeastern Syria

A Partners Relief & Development team member hands out of food to displaced people in Hasakah, Syria, in October 2019. | Partners Relief & Development

A United States-based Christian humanitarian agency says it’s feeding around 10,000 people a day in war-torn northeastern Syria as local workers and volunteers put their lives on the line to serve those in need following the Turkish invasion this month.

Partners Relief & Development, a Michigan-based nonprofit founded in 1994 serving in a handful of conflicts around the world, has been on the ground in northeastern Syria since 2016 and helped establish five schools and two health clinics in a post-Islamic State Syria.

However, the progress made in these communities located in an autonomous region defended by the Syrian Democratic Forces (largely made up of Kurdish YPG forces) over the last three years has now been called into question amid the Turkish campaign along a 300-mile-long strip of land along the border.

Since the cross-border campaign began on Oct. 9, hundreds of thousands of civilians in cities along the Turkish-Syrian border have fled from their homes. Turkey has claimed that its campaign is targeting “terrorists” linked to Kurdish separatists in Turkey but supporters have refuted such a label.

In response to the mass exodus, Partners Relief & Development has established at least 58 food centers offering warm meals (curry and rice) around the city of Hasakah, a town where many displaced civilians in border towns are resettling.

The feeding centers are set up in temporary shelters, most of which are schools, where food is cooked and distributed.

In addition, the nongovernmental organization is distributing blankets, sleeping mats, diapers, baby formula, hygiene supplies, cooking supplies, gas stoves and other essential supplies for the fleeing civilians.

The NGO says it has delivered relief to at least 76,010 Kurdish civilians who have fled from their homes in the last month.

“Our team works where politics or violence prevents children from having the things that they need to survive,” Partners Relief & Development founder and President Steve Gumaer told The Christian Post, noting that the organization also operates in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

“And once they have those things, we also stay long enough to establish schools and healthcare for them, which is what we were doing in Kurdish Syria before these attacks began.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith