- At least two people killed, with more injured in attack outside IRC centre
- Incident shows Syrians are vulnerable to attacks in province
Beruit, Lebanon, May 3, 2018 — An International Rescue Committee worker is amongst at least two people killed in a car bomb attack outside an IRC centre used to help displaced Syrians in Dana, Idlib, north-western Syria. Up to six people are thought to have also been injured in the explosion.
The attack took place at 8am and killed 38-year-old Abdulqadir Saeed Al-Ghafri, who worked as a security guard at the IRC livelihoods centre. Abdulqadir Saeed was originally from Aleppo and was himself displaced by the conflict in Syria. He had worked for the IRC since 2015 and leaves behind a wife and four children.
Mark Schnellbaecher, International Rescue Committee’s Middle East Director, said: “This terrible incident is a stark reminder of the great risk taken by IRC staff and other aid workers to help the Syrian people. Aid workers are not, and must never be, a target. Unfortunately, in Syria this is too often the case. Our thoughts are now with Abdulqadir’s family and the IRC will seek to support them as much as possible during this difficult time.”
In addition to having to contend with air strikes, civilians and humanitarians in Idlib are also at risk from fighting between armed groups vying for control of the province. Clashes between these armed groups have routinely disrupted aid deliveries and put civilians at risk.
Idlib has a population of almost 2.6 million, with 1.2 million displaced by the conflict. Increased aerial bombardment and a military offensive in the south of Idlib caused over 325,000 people to flee their homes in the first months of 2018. Over 60,000 fled to Dana, more than any other area of Idlib, with up to 90% of new arrivals living in tents. The IRC had been providing cash support to around 7,000 newly arrived families in Dana as well as distributing animal feed to nearly 1,500 families so they can maintain a supply of milk and meat.
The IRC has been supporting the people of northern Syria with health, education, and livelihood work since 2012. The IRC’s livelihood centre in Dana had been operating for two years and has helped thousands of Syrians to find more regular work through business and life skills training, vocational training, apprenticeships and business start-up grants.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.