President of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent meets the President of the Italian Red Cross at Solferino 2013 event

Published: 20 June 2013 15:28 CET

By Italian Red Cross

"In Syria, the humanitarian situation is explosive. Internally displaced people number more than 5 million, and an additional 2.2 million have fled to neighboring countries," says Abdul Rahman al-Attar, President of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), during his meeting with the President of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco Rocca in Rome on 17 June.

From 20 to 22 June, al-Attar and a delegation from SARC will participate in Solferino 2013, the traditional yearly Red Cross Red Crescent gathering in northern Italy, to commemorate the birth of the idea of the Red Cross. This year the event is dedicated to the on-going crisis in Syria.

"In Syria we are currently witnessing an escalation of the conflict and the humanitarian situation is extremely volatile," al-Attar says. "The basic needs of the affected population are increasing and the activities we are carrying out to bring assistance to the population, with support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, do not cover more than 40 per cent of actual needs."

"The Syrian Arab Red Crescent, after gaining access to the hottest spots in cities affected by the conflict, such as Aleppo, the northern part of Latakia, Idlib, as well as the rural area of Damascus,  we must now respond – together with the Red Crescent branch in Homs – to events in Qusayr, which badly needs support after the siege and the destruction of the past few days.

Al-Attar said he was grateful to the Italian Red Cross Society for supporting SARC’s humanitarian actions in Syria since the crisis began. "The most important thing for us is to have access to the affected areas, and to provide medical equipment and water supplies," he said. "We need support for our logistics activities, and we need to raise our voices and call for the protection of volunteers and ambulances, which are essential to save the lives of the most vulnerable people. It is absolutely necessary to raise awareness about humanitarian situation in Syria."