One Hand Can't Clap

Defending the homeland is the responsibility of all its citizens not only the army and confronting the terrorist takfiri war which Syria has been witnessing for more than three years has necessitated the mobilization of the efforts and potentials of government and non government parties as well as all the categories of the Syrian society.

The life and peace-loving people of Syria, particularly the youths, have shown great resistance against the culture of destruction, killing and terrorism which has infiltrated into Syria across the borders from around the world. They have proved great ability to withstand the foreign-backed terrorist war and confront the repercussions of the crisis through establishing voluntary groups nationwide aiming to carry out humanitarian and relief activities to alleviate the suffering of citizens affected by the ongoing events.

Voluntary Work Urgent Need

Shedding more light on the importance of voluntary work under the crisis in Syria and on its role in consolidating the steadfastness of the Syrian people, the "Syria Times" e-newspaper met Rami al-Halabi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of "Souria Btejma'na" (Syria Brings Us Together) voluntary team.

According to al-Halabi, "volunteering is an important phenomenon indicating the progress and vividness of peoples and societies. Syria knew limited voluntary work before the eruption of events in the country, but later and by the beginning of the terrorist war, voluntary work has expanded and become more organized to confront the crisis. It has taken multiple forms covering the charitable, relief and development fields."

"Such kind of work is badly needed today as the country is launching an all-out process of social, psychological and moral reconstruction which is not less important than rebuilding the infrastructure," al-Halabi said, pointing out that President Bashar Al-Assad in his oath-taking speech urged enhancing voluntary work and stressed the importance of disseminating the culture of volunteering.

Message of voluntary work

"Voluntary work under the crisis aims to affirm that we, the Syrians, are all partners in both pain and hope and that we can heal each others' wounds by amity and cooperation. It also aims to send a message to the world saying that despite the war and the suffering, we are still able to export the meaning of steadfastness and peace to the whole world and we will keep united as to rebuild our strong and beautiful homeland, al-Halabi added.

"Thus, because defending the homeland is the responsibility of all, we established "Souria Btejma'na" on April 2011 as a national civil voluntary team to organize youths' work and make use of their potentials to help the Syrians surpass the crisis," he clarified.

Meeting with Mrs. Asmaa Al-Assad

"One hand can't clap, all should be effective partners in building Syria," al-Halabi said, quoting Mrs. Asmaa Al-Assad as saying as she met the team's members earlier this year.

"Mrs. Asmaa's words and advices have enhanced the spirit of continuous giving in us and will remain our guide and work program to achieve the hoped-for goals," he pointed out.

According to al-Halabi, the team comprises national honest young Syrians of different categories and from different Syrian provinces. "Those youths realized how big and heinous the conspiracy on Syria was, so they decided to defend their beloved country in the media and in the intellectual, political, humanitarian and social domains."


Seeking coordination with other national voluntary teams with same objectives, "Souria Btijma'na" last year held a workshop attended by most voluntary groups operating nationwide to initiatethe idea of establishing the "Civil Work Front" which is to comprise many voluntary teams with a common goal; that is defending and reconstructing Syria, he pointed out.

 Self-financed activities

Detailed information about the team's activities was provided by Suzan al-Ruz, a volunteer and member of the group's board. She said "Souria Btejma'na" is one of the national initiatives which aim to fortify the homeland against all who want to destroy it and humiliate its people.

 “From the very beginning, the team was keen to back the Syrian Arab Army in defending the country through assisting the families affected by the war in Syria to withstand the humanitarian, economic and social crisis befallen on them. It was also keen to found a base for an effective civil society which can play a role in unifying the Syrians and consolidating the values of peace, amity and national unity.

"Souria Btejma'na", Al-Ruz said, has carried out more than 400 various self-financed initiatives and campaigns over the past three years in all Syrian provinces despite challenges and obstacles. These activities and campaigns included supplying displaced families with basic needs like food and medicine and providing financial and material aid to martyrs' families and to wounded people, she added.

According to al-Ruz, most important initiatives and campaigns have aimed to

-Provide clothes to displaced people at temporary housing centers and to poor martyrs' families.

-Restore and fix the damage caused to schools by terrorist attacks.

 -Provide displaced school children with bags and stationary.

 -Presenting stoves as well as fuel and blankets to martyrs' families, displaced families and the poor.

-Honor the heroes of the Syrian Arab army and provide moral and psychological support for martyrs' children.

 -Present coats to army personnel at the front line and at checkpoints plus wheelchairs to wounded army personnel.

-Hold campaigns at schools and institutes to consolidate the idea of volunteering.

The team has recently got a license to work as a national civil society association, thereby becoming able to accept contributions from other parties who would like to be part in the team's campaigns which have received great interaction by the people.

The team has branches in all Syrian governorates but with fewer members than the main one in Damascus which comprises 150 active and dedicated volunteers, al Ruz said, hailing media's role in shedding light on voluntary teams and on their role in defending Syria hand in hand with the army.

By: Hamda Mustafa