Syrian Red Crescent’s image problem

    In Syria, the local Red Crescent society is working hard to dispel perceptions it is closely tied to the government. It’s an image the group said needs to be corrected to solicit more funding, especially from Arab donors.

    The Syrian Arab Red Crescent doesn’t receive enough support from Arab donors because “they are mixing the politics with the humanitarian,” Abdul Rahman Attar, the group’s president, told IRIN News.

    One Red Cross volunteer added that Arab countries think the Red Crescent is too close to the government. It’s one of the downsides of being in a region where Red Crescent and Red Cross societies “don’t enjoy the freedom their sister organizations in the West do,” the volunteer told IRIN.

    This apparent lack of trust in the group is quite problematic, as some members of the group noted. The Red Crescent, with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross, is the only major aid group with access to Syrians affected by the fighting in the country.

    Some Arab donors do support the Syrian Red Crescent. Qatar has donated two ambulances to the group while Kuwait pledged $1 million. Others, however, admitted they are hesitant to pledge support. The United Arab Emirates Red Crescent, for instance, said it’s not the “right time yet” while another donor noted that it is a lose-lose situation to help the group, IRIN says.

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.