Campaign for material aid for refugees from Afrin

The #SiAmoAfrin campaign in solidarity with the displaced people of Afrin, in northern Syria, was launched on April 25.

Solidarity groups, NGOs and Kurdish Associations are planning a global campaign across Europe, Australia, Canada and the US to materially support the people displaced from Afrin, in northern Syria, after the invasion and occupation by the Turkish military and allied Islamist groups.

Campaign coordinator Hawzhin Azeez told Green Left Weekly that "the campaign is called SiAmo Afrin (We Are Afrin but also Si Amo Afrin — I love Afrin) and we have set up a Facebook page called Si Amo Afrin, a Twitter page @SiAmoAfrin and a crowdfunding site where donations can be made directly".

Azeez said about 450,000 civilians have been displaced from Afrin, yet they have not received any material aid. 

"The majority of the displaced are in the region of Shehba where the Kurdish authorities have built two camps, Berxwedan camp and Serdem camp,” she said. “Both are severely underfunded and many thousands of families still lack access to shelter. For this reason many people are still living in the open in makeshift shelters, using plastic and tarps. This has resulted in the spread of many diseases such as TB and leishmania disease."

Worse, the European Union gave a €6 billion aid package for refugees to Turkey just days after Turkey and its allied jihadists occupied Afrin. Turkey is given the aid for refugees when it has just created hundreds of thousands more refugees.

"This is gross international aid hypocrisy and conditional and politicised support to a regime that has perpetrated massive human rights crimes,” Azeez said.

"This campaign is an effort to break the international silence, both from governments, which through their silence have been deeply complicit in allowing the tragedy of the invasion of Afrin to occur, as well as the international aid organisations, which have failed to provide any aid or support to date to the displaced people since the invasion."

The #SiAmoAfrin campaign will be launched in Italy on April 25, to mark the 73rd anniversary of Italy’s liberation from Nazi fascism. It will go global from there and will run until June 2.

"A global twitterstorm is being organised for the launch date. More details will be revealed from our Twitter account and on our Facebook page and there will be consecutive storms during the period to generate as much focus as possible," Azeez added.

"The only organisation working on the ground is Heyv e Sor a Kurd (Kurdish Red Crescent) which many have not been able to donate to due to banks rejecting or refunding the donations. But we also aim to create media and public attention on the Turkish invasion and aggression on Afrin, Rojava and Kurdistan in general. 

"At the end of the campaign we hope to collect a delegation of well-known people, activists, religious leaders, mayors and politicians from Italy to go to Basur (in northern Iraq) and then to Rojava to hand over the funds to generate more attention.

"We urge you and your readers to support the campaign during the period by promoting the campaign on social media, organising fundraising events across the period, seminars and documentary showings, informing their networks about the campaign and encouraging them to participate."

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