An off-the-record discussion with
Nigel Pont
Regional Director, Middle East
Mercy Corps

Rae McGrath
Director, North Syria
Mercy Corps

Moderated by
Faysal Itani
Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East
Atlantic Council

The Geneva II negotiations over humanitarian access to Homs demonstrated to a wider international audience what has been evident to Syrians and aid workers for several years: that humanitarian aid is deeply entangled in the politics of the conflict. To the regime, which employs deprivation as a strategy of warfare, cross-line and cross-border assistance to contested areas are viewed as undercutting its interests. As such, the government walks a fine line, permitting some international assistance to reach preferred areas, while restricting access to others.

And yet, the need for comprehensive relief is urgent. Nearly half of Syria’s twenty-three million are in need of assistance. One-third of all antebellum structures have been damaged or destroyed. More than six million are internally displaced, and several million more have been forced into neighboring countries. Violence is ubiquitous. Health services are severely degraded. Access to food, clean water, fuel, and shelter are daily challenges.

Please join the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East for an off-the-record discussion on February 14 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. with two Mercy Corps’ senior staff about the complex challenges facing humanitarian assistance in Syria. Operating in Syria since 2008, Mercy Corps has struggled to meet humanitarian needs in rebel held as well as in government controlled territory. 

Please use the West Tower elevators when you arrive.

A light breakfast will be served.

Please note that this invitation is transferable only by request.