February 2018


Newsletter February 2018

UOSSM-Canada Vice-Chair, Anas Al-Kassem, comments on the dire situation in eastern Ghouta in an interview with CTV News

UOSSM-Canada Advocates for Cessation of Violence in Eastern Ghouta

With the recent rise of attacks in eastern Ghouta, UOSSM-Canada has conducted advocacy with the government, media, and general public. Doctors from UOSSM-Canada issued official statements in court, testifying to the dire circumstances in Ghouta and the pressing need for Canadians to take swift action. Owing to the advocacy work of individuals from UOSSM-Canada and other organizations, the Government of Canada has released an official statement calling for an end to the killing of civilians in Ghouta. UOSSM-Canada Chair, Hussam Alfakir, spoke to the atrocities happening in eastern Ghouta in a fundraising event with an audience of over 200 concerned community members. The event was a collaboration between Human Concern Internation and Al-Watan, and culminated in over $140,000 that will be sent to Ghouta for humanitarian and medical relief. Vice-Chair and UOSSM Co-Founder, Anas Al-Kassem also conducted an interview with CTV, which can be seen above. Currently, UOSSM-Canada continues to raise funds for Ghouta through social media campaigns and an emergency appeal.

UOSSM-Canada Raises Public Awareness on the Plight of the Rohingya

On February 6th, seven humanitarian and human rights groups, including UOSSM-Canada, staged a news conference in Toronto to provide updates on the plight of the Rohingya. The press conference aimed to raise awareness about the plight of over one million Rohingya refugees displaced from Burma and living in overcrowded, underserviced camps in Bangladesh. In addition, UOSSM-Canada has partnered with a local community organization, Share2Care (Shabana Waheed and Zakia Suleman), to improve sanitation and healthcare access amongst the Rohingya refugees. 

UOSSM Staff Member Killed in Eastern Ghouta while Helping Others

UOSSM staff member, Abdul Rahman Ismael, was killed by an airstrike on February 20 in Eastern Ghouta. He described the chaotic situation in his last voice message he sent just minutes before he was killed saying, "I am in an area with a safe shelter and a hospital, but honestly the situation is absolutely terrible, airstrikes and barrels dropping like crazy. We can't even count them anymore, or if we should be counting them or just run away."

UOSSM would like to send its warmest condolences to the family of Abdul Rahman, may God give them and us patience in this trying time.

"Together for Ghouta" Press Conference Held by the Syrian NGO Alliance in Gaziantep
A press conference was held after the escalation of the crisis in Eastern Ghouta. The conference was held by members of (SNA) Syrian NGO Alliance including UOSSM and attended by journalists and humanitarians in Gaziantep. Presenters called on the international community to protect medical and humanitarian facilities, allow humanitarian aid inside Eastern Ghouta, and the medical evacuation of critical cases.

Implementation of Nutritional Program in Southern Syria (Supported by UNICEF)
UOSSM began implementing a nutritional program, supported by UNICEF to detect acute and severe malnutrition cases and treatment. The program will be available in UOSSM's primary health care center in Sawra and places around it, Elma, western Alghariya, and mobile clinics in Allajat. The main targeted patients are pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children under the age of five in an area of 65,000 people.

UOSSM Delivers Primary Healthcare and Childbirth Services in New Medical Centres 
UOSSM began offering primary health care services at the beginning of February in new medical centers in the village of Masraba in Eastern Ghouta, which will provide medical care to a population of 40,000. UOSSM also began offering medical services to a childbirth center in Arbeen (Ghouta) and Nasma (Daraa), which will provide childbirth services to a population of 1,000.

UOSSM Delivers Medical Shipment for Medical Relief and Humanitarian Assistance
UOSSM delivered a medical shipment, containing medicine and consumables, to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) Logistic Humanitarian Assistance Centre. The supplies were distributed to medical centres in northern Syria.

UOSSM Conducts Training Program to Enable Women in Southern Syria
UOSSM began offering sewing classes on February 10 to empower women in southern Syria. Two classes with 20 participants each were created, consisting of women over the age of 18. The classes are being offered in the Al Swisah Mental Health Care Center. Three sessions are offered per week to strengthen women's capabilities in southern Syria and to help them learn the fundamentals of sewing.

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