Syria refugees in Cairo launch aid initiative
Syrian migrant community organizes grassroots effort to help those in need ahead of Id al-Fitr.
Syrian refugees during Laylat al-Qadr, Cairo Photo: REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
As Sunday’s Id al-Fitr celebrations draw near, activists within Cairo’s growing
Syrian refugee community used social media this week to organize a grassroots
drive to reach out to those who have fled the violence in their home
The Cairo initiative, run from the Syrian Charity Kitchen in 6
October City near Cairo – itself a project organized by the Syrian refugee
community – called on residents of the capital to bring clothing and children’s
toys to donate to needy families on Thursday and Friday.
who have used blogs and Twitter to spread the word about the donations, said
they plan to display the donated items in 6 October City’s Hosary Park before
the holiday on Friday evening, so that Syrian families could take what they
“The Syrian refugee situation in Cairo is growing. We are not a
charity or an organization.
We are simply the Syrian community banding
together to help our brothers and sisters fleeing from monstrosities back
After 14 months of the worst brutality the world has seen, your
Syrian brothers and sisters are asking for help,” wrote the initiative’s
organizer, a refugee who tweets anonymously as @mou2amara and describes herself
as “a Syrian woman, an Arab woman.”
Giving charity is a key part of
Ramadan and some activists have organized initiatives throughout the holy month
for Cairo’s Syrian migrant community, culminating in this week’s pre-Id al-Fitr
There are no official figures of how many Syrian refugees are
living in Egypt, and the Egyptian media reports on numbers vary.
report by Daily News Egypt said there are an estimated 10,000 Syrian refugees in
Egypt, with numbers swelling daily as more Syrians flee the violence, whereas a
report by the Moheet Arabic news site on Wednesday said that as of July, there
were just 1,230 Syrian migrants in Egypt.
Last week, the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees spokesman Adrian Edwards said that, as of August 9,
around 150,000 people had fled Syria, mostly to neighboring countries Lebanon,
Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. He did not provide figures for Egypt,
UNHCR’s Cairo office did not respond by press time to a request
by The Jerusalem Post for more information on refugees in Egypt.
plight of Syrian refugees in Egypt has received attention from the country’s
media, reflecting a broader sympathy for the Syrian revolution.
Egyptians support the Syrian uprising, in which opposition sources say 18,000
people have been killed.
According to a February Gallup poll, 56 percent
of Egyptians said they supported calls to overthrow Syrian President Bashar
Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy expressed his backing for the
Syrian opposition during his June 30 inauguration speech, a move which
positioned him with the US, Europe and most of the Arab world, but also with the
majority of Egyptians.
A recent op-ed in Egyptian daily Al-Ahram argued
that Egyptians from different segments of society support the Syrian uprising,
from young liberals to the the Muslim Brotherhood.
In Cairo, Syrian
refugees have set up tents in the city’s famous Tahrir Square, the heart of
Egypt’s revolution, and have gained the support of Egyptian revolutionary
One such movement, the Egyptian Revolution Union – a coalition
of 25 political and independent parties, NGOs and national movements established
by youth activists during the uprising last January – organized a recent Ramadan
iftar (break-fast) event in Cairo’s Agouza district, during which activists
reiterated their support for their “Syrian brothers” fighting against Assad’s
According to Saudi Arabian news site Naseej, union coordinator
Muhammad Allam said the group is monitoring the Syrian refugee situation in
Cairo in order to help them, and that the aim of the iftar iniative is to make
the refugees feel at home in Egypt.
The Union had coordinated with the
Syrian National Council, a coalition of Syrian opposition groups based in
Istanbul, to send medical aid to Syria, Allam added.
Islamist groups have
also shown support for the Syrian opposition. On Tuesday, the leader of the
Egyptian Islamist Construction and Development Party pledged to conduct Id
al-Fitr prayers in front of the Syrian Embassy in Cairo to show support for the