Hand in Hand for Syria was one of only a handful of charities active inside Syria which were invited to attend the conference. Mr Aldairi used the opportunity to talk to Baroness Valerie Amos, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief co-ordinator, as well as foreign ministers from around the world (including the assistant to the US Secretary of State, John Kerry) about the increasing difficulties faced by aid agencies operating inside Syria. He described the desperate situation of civilians living under siege in places like Yarmouk, Moadamiya and Homs.
Mr Aldairi commented: “We are grateful to all those countries who continue to support the Syrian people — including the UK, which pledged a further £100m at the conference. But Syrians need more than money: millions of them are being denied access to aid, and we urgently need the international community and the UN to focus on changing this situation.”
Mr Aldairi also met with the UK international development secretary, Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, to discuss how the British government can further help Syrians living in the UK (such as international students facing financial hardship). He pressed the need for Britain to review its strict policy on allowing both British and non-British citizens to bring their families from Syria into the country, given that the UK has one of the lowest rates for according visas.
The British foreign secretary, William Hague, today announced he would be meeting with Baroness Amos about how the UK can help the UN improve access to aid inside Syria.