Emergency Aid to Syria

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Earlier today, a bomb exploded on the third floor of the Syrian state TV and Radio building in Damascus. It was also reported that the Syrian prime minister has defected, fleeing with his family to Jordan. This news comes as Syria's army continues its attempts to recapture the country's commercial centre, Aleppo. Today we look at the on-going conflict and the challenges it's posing to groups trying to deliver aid to the thousands of Syrians who have been displaced.


Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

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Emergency Aid to Syria - World Food Program

There is no break in the violence that has convulsed Syria for the past seventeen months. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians are displaced, while millions are desperate for food and fuel.

It's estimated that more than 200,000 Syrians have fled to their neighboring countries Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. We heard from a woman who ended up in a refugee camp in Jordan.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees' spokesperson Melissa Fleming says many people simply have nowhere safe to run.

U.S. officials have promised an extra $12 million in humanitarian aid for Syrian civilians. The money will go to the U.N. refugee agency, the International Red Cross, UNICEF and other organizations providing emergency assistance. Some Syrian-Canadians worry that the aid organizations are not entirely impartial. They believe the Syrian government is interfering with aid distribution and point to one organization headed by a man they believe has strong links to the Assad regime.

For the latest on the status of food availability to Syrians, we were joined by Abeer Etafa, a spokesperson for the World Food Program. She joined us from Cairo.

Emergency Aid to Syria - Syrian Canadian Council

Here in Canada, an Ottawa-based NGO called Human Concern International hopes to play an official role in Canada's delivery of aid to Syria. So far, the organization has raised close to two million dollars for aid.

Kaleem Akhtar is the executive director of Human Concern International. He says his organization can make a difference. We aired a clip.

Faisal Alazem is a Syrian-Canadian who not only wants to increase Canadian aid to Syria, but wants to change the way Canada delivers that aid. He's a member of the Syrian Canadian Council and was part of a delegation that recently met with Foreign Minister John Baird. He hopes to get the government to reconsider which aid agencies to support. Faisal Alazem was in Montreal.

Emergency Aid to Syria - International Committee of the Red Cross

Simon Schorno is the North America spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross. He was in our Washington studio.

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and Josh Bloch.


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