News & Views

Let’s not forget the suffering of Syrians


This is our collective legacy of non-intervention. True, no British soldiers have died, but we have seen regular terror attacks in the UK, up to 1 million dead in Syria

December 23, 2018


Let’s not forget the suffering of Syrians

Professor David Nott and Hamish de Bretton-Gordon

 on the plight of the 4 million civilians trapped in Idlib

In December 2016 we managed to help rescue 500 injured children trapped in Aleppo, and in December 2017, 29 children dying of curable cancer in Ghouta. These children survived, but many have perished in this most cruel of conflicts. Idlib province is now the only area of Syria not under regime control. It is the children who are the future of Syria, and they have suffered the most. It appears that about 75% have post-traumatic stress disorder, and about 50% are incontinent because of this.

This is our collective legacy of non-intervention. True, no British soldiers have died, but we have seen regular terror attacks in the UK, up to 1 million dead in Syria, and the re-emergence of chemical weapons on the battlefields of the globe and even the streets of England.

Four million civilians are trapped in Idlib with the remnants of the jihadists, an area similar in size to the Isle of Wight. These desperate people cannot get out and aid cannot get in, perhaps a perfect breeding ground for the jihadists and return of Isis? The Charities Commission has issued guidance that supplying aid to Idlib could breach UK counter-terrorism laws. Hence aid has ceased to get to those most needy. Aid only comes via the UN and WHO via Damascus, and reliable sources suggest that up to 75% is siphoned off by the regime.

Short of western “boots on the ground”, it is difficult to see what will prevent this deprivation of humankind unfolding in front of us. It is clear there is little appetite for this but possibly the UN, with backing from the US, UK and France, could put monitors on the ground in Idlib, perhaps also supported and protected by the Turkish military to ensure aid gets to those who need it and not just the jihadists who are holding Idlib to ransom.

As we prepare for blanket coverage of Brexit over Christmas, we would like to remind the great people of Britain that there are thousands of children in the wet and snow of Idlib – some starving, some seriously injured and most missing their education. We should at least try to help, or at the very least remember them in our churches, mosques and synagogues at this time of year, more especially as we are unlikely to liberate them or offer them sanctuary from this tyranny.

London

The Guardian