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Westminster Column - Remember Aleppo


It will stand forever as a symbol of international shame and failure. Rwanda, Srebrenica, Aleppo. We are desensitised to the horror of the catastrophe that is taking place.

Aleppo was one of the world’s greatest cities. Six thousand years old, a cornerstone of international civilisation with a population of 2.3 million men, women and children. Today it lies in ruins. Thousands of its inhabitants have been murdered. The city now has a population of just over 250,000.

The UN is paralysed. One of its own leaders, Russia – a Permanent Representative- upon whom we rely for promoting international justice stands accused of war crimes, international thuggery and breaching humanitarian law.

Russia has bombed countless hospitals in tandem with the Syrian regime’s barrel-bombed destruction of its civilian population. Staff and patients of Médecins Sans Frontières hospitals whose only aim is to help their fellow men and women have been attacked and murdered.

Russia’s cynical self-interest remains, alas, unfettered by the United States as fear of embroilment and preoccupation with November’s elections paralyses them. Europe is distracted by its own internal difficulties. Few other countries follow Britain’s lead in caring for literally millions of refugees; Britain has contributed more in humanitarian relief than the whole of the rest of the EU put together.

The solution is to protect the innocent and reenergise the political process. In the end a political deal will be done and it cannot come soon enough for suffering Syria.
There should be “no bombing zones”, a lifting of the sieges, strong support for countries taking in refugees with unfettered access for humanitarian relief and the inspiring people who are trying to provide it. Pressure by the UN, and the great powers who are willing, on the combatants and regional states who are supporting them.

So this August think of the poor suffering people of Aleppo and the way the international community has let them down.



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