Basma El Husseiny, Al Mawred Al Thaqafi director (Photo: Farah Montassir)
Seventeen Egyptian artists and intellectuals have started a visit to Syrian refugees on the Turkish border in an initiative called "In Support of the Syrian People" organised by Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy (Culture Resource).
The group arrived in Turkey on Saturday and will stay until Thursday.
"We are not taking one side against the other, we just want to show those forcefully evicted Syrians that we care," said Basma El-Husseiny, Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy director, at a press conference prior to the group's departure.
Attending the press conference on Thursday were some of the 17 participants, including musician Mohamed Abdel Aaal, known as Mado, theatre director Sondos Shabayek, singer Fairuz Karawya, journalist Ola El-Saket, poet Hamdy Zidan, and theatre critic Yasser Allam.
According to UN data, there are around 100,363 Syrian refugees in Turkey, 101,283 in Lebanon, 105,166 in Jordan and 41,955 in Iraq, in addition over 5,000 scattered across North Africa
"These people [in Syria], in addition to the rest spread across Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, have been neglected and it is our role to support them," El-Husseiny said. "It is a humanitarian act on our behalf, and we are carrying gifts and donations to those refugees."
El-Husseiny stressed that Al-Mawred only organised the visit, with artists and intellectuals covering their own expenses.
"We had no selection criteria and just one condition: that each participant cover their trip expenses. We received many applications," El-Husseiny explained.
Poet Hamdy Zidan stated: "As our delegation includes a large number of musicians and artists, we will organise cultural activities with the Syrian refugees, especially the children.
"We will include painting workshops and musical nights," he explained. "We hope to engage the refugees and help them express their stories through art."
Al-Mawred will hold a special concert in support of Syrian refugees at El-Gomhoreya Theatre on 8 December featuring Egyptian, Syrian and Turkish singers and musicians, including Mohamed El-Dagher.