Two Oxfam workers were killed in an attack in Syria yesterday.
Wissam Hazim and Adel Al-Halabi were both killed when their vehicle was attacked by a so-far unidentified armed group. An Oxfam volunteer was also injured.
The attack happened yesterday (19 February) at 2pm local time in Dar’a governorate in Southern Syria, between Nawa and Al-Yadudah.
Hazim was a staff safety officer and Al-Halabi was driving the vehicle.
Oxfam has paid tribute to the workers and condemned the attack. The charity has called on all sides to ensure the safety of staff delivering lifesaving aid to civilians caught in the conflict.
'We condemn the attack in the strongest possible terms'
Moutaz Adham, Oxfam Syria country director, said: “We are devastated by the loss of two valued colleagues who were killed as they worked to deliver aid to civilians caught in the Syrian conflict. Our love and thoughts are with their families.
“We condemn the attack in the strongest possible terms. It is essential that aid workers are able to get lifesaving assistance to civilians without being attacked themselves.”
According to the 2019 Aid Worker Security Report, Syria was the “most lethal context” for aid workers, with 56 fatalities recorded in 2018, mostly from aerial bombardment.
Al-Halabi joined Oxfam in January 2017 and Hazim had worked for Oxfam since May 2017. Both were Syrian nationals.
Last year Oxfam helped over 1.2 million people in Syria with aid, including clean water, cash, essential clothing items and other support.
Since 1 December 2019, 900,000 people have fled their homes. Many of these people have been displaced multiple times.
Oxfam reports that 6.5 million people are facing acute food insecurity, a third of whom are relying on unsafe dirty water supplies, and 5 million people are seeking refuge in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon and Jordan.
Oxfam has launched a crisis appeal because the conflict has recently intensified.