A handful of Christian-led aid groups remain in northeast Syria, despite pullbacks from major aid organizations, including Doctors Without Borders. Partners Relief and Development, which established medical clinics across the region following the 2017 liberation of Raqqa from the Islamic State group, has set up 38 kitchens to feed fleeing civilians. It also has set up additional distribution points for handing out blankets, pads to sleep on, and other items. In a Facebook post Friday, the Michigan-based group reported, “There is no cease-fire and there isn’t even a pause in the violence.”
Founder Steve Gumaer told me despite lethal shelling by Turkish forces, his teams were pressing forward to help the displaced and victims of violence. Earlier this week heavy rocket fire trapped the group’s aid coordinator, a Syrian Christian, inside a wedding chapel near Hasakah. He was trying to distribute blankets and mats to fleeing residents. “He was pinned down by what looked like ISIS fighters,” said Gumaer.
He estimated hundreds of civilian deaths this week and confirmed the targeting of medics and hospitals serving residents: “We are watching the gains in this region get torpedoed after working so hard toward stability and peace.”