Aid agencies urge Theresa May to punish Syria 'crimes'

Aid agencies urge Theresa May to punish Syria 'crimes'
Some of the world's biggest humanitarian agencies have united to call on the British Prime Minister not to ignore the slaughter in Syria.
2 min read
17 October, 2016
"Prime Minister, this is not a moment to sit on the sidelines." [AFP]
Humanitarian agencies have united to urge British Prime Minister Theresa May not to ignore Syria's horrors.

Amnesty International is among several organisations asking people to add their voice to a letter demanding she take action against the Russian-backed regime bombardment of Aleppo.

"The slaughter in Aleppo is happening before our eyes," said the letter. "The children under the rubble, their screams, their terror play on our screens every day. We cannot claim we didn't know."

The plea comes after the United States' attempts on Saturday to revive hopes of a ceasefire were once again thwarted.

On Sunday, the US and Britain threatened to impose new economic sanctions on Syria and Russia over the devastating siege of Aleppo.

In the letter published in British newspaper The Daily Mirror, organisations including International Rescue Committee, War Child, The Syria Campaign and Council for British Arab Understanding, demanded action.

"Inaction and impunity worsens the situation for civilians," the letter said.

"Prime Minister, this is not a moment to sit on the sidelines. The UK must stand up for the protection of civilians and respect for international law.

"We must not accept the wilful destruction of lives, communities and a country.

"An effective strategy with protection of civilians at its heart is urgently needed to deter the use of collective punishment against eastern Aleppo's civilians and work towards a peaceful resolution."

It added: "Deliberate attacks on children and hospitals are ongoing. They cannot be dismissed as 'collateral damage in a battle against terror'. It is a systematic attack on the laws of war.

"Every war crime we allow to go unpunished - by any party to this brutal conflict - makes the world more dangerous."

Since a US-Russian brokered ceasefire ended on September 19, 114 children have died and a further 321 have been injured in Syrian and Russian airstrikes, the vast majority in rebel-held east Aleppo, according to statistics from Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

In the last three weeks an average of 17 children have been injured every day.