Unfortunately, the situation is still, I would say, really directionless, and in the middle of nowhere. When I say this, it is mainly related to the peace-building efforts. Any kind of political consensus has not materialised, and this high level of uncertainty and unpredictability is not really helping anyone.
For us as a humanitarian organisation, the biggest impact of this is that it is getting more difficult day-by-day to secure more humanitarian funds. Yes, we are a humanitarian organisation providing food, water, medicine, but how long? Donors are simply tired; it’s been 10 years already. But even if the funding has reduced, the needs haven’t reduced.
It is unfortunate to say, but if you go and talk to the people in Syria, Covid-19 or even the variant of Covid-20 are maybe the least of their problems. They’re already facing so many issues in life. But Covid-19 is clearly impacting things. For example, NGOs and the UN are the primary investors in local markets in Syria. So, when our funding shrinks, or when we have to stop activities during curfews, that is directly impacting the local market. The people, especially small business owners, their financial situation is getting bad due directly to Covid-19.
If any Syrian has an opportunity to leave Syria, that’s the first priority. To get into Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, or Europe using formal or informal means, that would be a gift. They don’t see their future, their childrens’ future, in the area. For the people in northwest Syria, it’s a small area where millions of people are living, often being displaced multiple times. So, they are living with this mindset that, at any time, they can be called to move again. They’re all sitting with their bags packed, so to speak.