Monday, 25 July 2016

In a single day, six medical centers targeted by Russian and Assad regime planes

Via Rethink Rebuild Society, here is a press release from the Ministry of Health of Free Aleppo on the bombing of six hospitals this weekend. Translation below.

On the situation, Abdulkafi Alhamdo, English professor at Aleppo University and at the Institute of Language Studies, says:
‘Death made by the hands of Assad is chasing civilians everywhere. Air strikes, lack of medical supplies and a serious lack of food are some forms of the scary situation of the life of people in the free part of Aleppo. Only in one day six medical centers were targeted by Russian and Assad's planes. To make the whole story worse, we never see any movements from the international society to prevent these massacres which is considered a real genocide towards Aleppo civilians. Statements without deeds mean nothing tho the poor civilians inside the free part of Aleppo.’
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Press release translation:

In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful
Press Release
Ministry of Health of Free Aleppo

The grave circumstances experienced by the free areas of Aleppo and the siege imposed upon the city by Assad and his allies have made it impossible for any civilians to seek medical treatment outside Aleppo or for any medical supplies to be brought into the city. This is in addition to the continued and unprecedented intense and barbaric shelling on the city, more specifically the targeting of the infrastructure and public services, especially hospitals, including all of the following:

1. Al-Bayan Hospital
2. Al-Daqaqy Surgical Hospital
3. Al-Hakim Hospital
4. Al-Sayyida Zahraa Hospital
5. Central Blood Bank
6. Al-Tababa Al-Shar’iyyah

Airstrikes on these facilities have forced them to stop offering services to the civilian population. The team of medical doctors and health care providers including the Ministry of Health are unable to find any solution to the slaughter which is happening in Aleppo or to fulfill their responsibilities towards the injured. This is resulting in the death of many of the wounded with over two hundred deaths in the city per day, making it imperative for supporting countries and humanitarian agencies to step in.

The Ministry of Health of Free Aleppo, to fulfill its responsibilities, calls upon the international community to bring an end to this humanitarian disaster which is afflicting more than 350,000 civilians inside the city. The regime’s actions towards Aleppo are reaching the proportions of collective genocide. Blood continues to be spilled in Aleppo by Assad and his allies through airstrikes as the international community only meets these actions with silence and a blind eye. The Ministry of Health of Free Aleppo condemns in the strongest language these barbaric and unprecedented indiscriminate attacks as well as the silence of the international community, humanitarian organisations, and all the free people of the world towards the situation in Aleppo and in Syria more generally, and calls upon them to take action to stop these massacres.

Long live free Syria
Aleppo 24 July 2016

Dr. Abdulbasit Ibrahim
Ministry of Health of Free Aleppo

See also:

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Women in Black vigil for Syria: Wednesday 27 July

Women in Black are holding a vigil for Syria this Wednesday 27 July, 6pm at the Edith Cavell Memorial, St Martins Place, London.

Facebook event page.

Women in Black’s statement:

Support Syrian Women’s work for peace—Drop food not bombs

Instead of bombs, send aid to Syrian women civil society activists.

Earlier this year women in Daraya and other besieged Syrian communities facing starvation called for help to break the sieges.

The promise by the UK and other governments of humanitarian airdrops to besieged communities has since been broken, and instead Daraya has come under increased attack by the Assad regime, with farmland bombed and crops destroyed. And with renewed attacks on the city of Aleppo, as many as 400,000 more people have now come under siege.

The war in Syria has taken a huge toll of life and wellbeing. Out of an original population of 23 million some 470,000 have been killed and 6.26 million displaced internally and 4 million abroad. YET—despite all the odds, and defying our imagination, civil society lives on in Syria, with women activists in the lead.

Research by the Badael Foundation, a Syrian non-profit and non-governmental organisation published last year, surveyed 28 women’s civil society groups involved in peace-building activity, none associated with the regime or with violent groups. Questionnaires to the groups, plus interviews with 35 women leaders and 10 focus groups with 100 women activists, revealed many women’s peace-building activities: reducing the spread of small arms in IDP camps; preventing the recruitment of children by armed groups; mediating to resolve conflicts between villages or within camps; bringing members of all groups, including those of perpetrator and victim, to mourn each death.

These women activists revealed in Badael’s report are all urging an internationally-brokered peace based on the Geneva 1 Communique of 2012, with unconditional ceasefire followed by negotiations. They call for women's full participation as required by UN Security Council Resolution 1325, to produce transitional justice and a new constitution for a Syria that will be pluralistic, democratic and gender-equal.

Working for peace incurs risk, because some on both sides see such women as traitors. They are most limited and threatened in the more violent regions, where they daily risk detention, torture, sexual abuse and assassination.

The main hindrance to their work is lack of funding. You can support them by a donation to:

The Badael Foundation

Women Now for Development (Lebanon & Syria)

Syrian Women’s League—Sabah Hallak:

Contact Women in Black at:
Twitter: @WIB_London

Women in Black holds vigils every Wednesday between 6-7 pm at the Edith Cavell Statue, opposite the door of the National Portrait Gallery, St.Martin’s Place, London WC2. The vigils are silent, women-only and if possible we wear black. Donations for leaflets most welcome.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Statement by Syrian groups in the UK in response to the deadly airstrike against civilians in northern Syria

PDF version.

We strongly condemn and are appalled at the deaths of Syrian civilians, among them 35 children, in US led coalition airstrikes in northern Syria, near Manbij on Tuesday 19/07/2016.*

When the US and UK decided to intervene in Syria, they promised civilian protection and security to civilians in their fight against ISIS, but instead we are seeing an increase in civilian casualties since Western involvement began in Syria.

The civilians in Manbij were fleeing the threat of ISIS, only to be hit by US airstrikes in what is being called an ‘accident’. We have to ask, what kind of fight is the US leading against ISIS if they can’t tell the difference between ISIS militants and women and children? The US must be held accountable for its actions; it is bad enough that Assad and Russia are killing civilians with impunity let alone the US joining cohorts with Russia.

The continuous US lip service Obama is offering against the Syrian regime whilst nothing is done to stop Assad’s killing machine is despicable.

Unfortunately Syrians can no longer distinguish between Assad bombs and now more recently the Russian and American airstrikes which have destroyed northern Syria and have left communities in ruins. As the so called leader of the free world, America’s actions are particularly reprehensible. The US is advocating human rights within the region as we speak; at the same time they kill innocent civilians in Syria.

The people of Syria are already experiencing the devastation of Assad’s bombs without having US led air strikes raining down on their heads. Western intervention should aim to establish both civilian protection and hold Assad accountable if they are serious about combating ISIS. Any other efforts are proving every day to be counterproductive.


Rethink Rebuild Society • Syrian Society of Nottinghamshire • Scotland4Syria • Syria Solidarity UK
Syrian Community of the South West • Syrian Platform for Peace • Peace and Justice for Syria
Syrian Association of Yorkshire • Help4Syria • Kurds House • Syrian Welsh Society

* Ref.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Refugee family reunion workshop for Syrians

For Refugee Week 2016, we piloted a new project: an immigration workshop offering practical advice to Syrian refugees on family reunions. There is a lack of free legal advice for refugees and asylum seekers wishing to bring their families to the UK. Many of those who have found sanctuary in the UK fear for the safety of loved ones still in Syria or in neighbouring countries. We aim to hold more workshops in partnership with Syrian community groups around the country.

Our workshop provided refugees with guidance in English and Arabic, now available as a PDF with clickable links to take you to useful web pages.

View and download the PDF: Refugee family reunion workshop for Syrians.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The legacy of Syria


David Cameron now has little time to right a shared legacy of failure on Syria.

Reasons for the UK’s narrow vote to leave the EU are many. One is Syria: Both the Leave campaign and UKIP connected fears over immigration to the Syrian crisis. Assad’s war against Syria’s population has created the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War.

In or out of the EU, we have a duty to care for refugees. We also need to understand that this refugee crisis is not caused by EU rules on free movement; it’s caused by the failure of world leaders, including Britain’s leaders, to stop Assad.

Inaction has consequences. At every point when world leaders failed to act against Assad, the impact of the Syrian crisis on the world increased. The failure of British Government and Opposition leaders on the EU vote is in part a consequence of their failure on Syria, but this story doesn’t end with today’s result. Without action, Syria’s crisis will continue to impact on us all.

Leaders failed to act in October 2011 when Syrians took to the streets calling for a no-fly zone.

By the end of 2011 there were 8,000 Syrian refugees in the region.

Leaders failed to act in 2012 when journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik were killed reporting from the horror of besieged Homs.

By the end of 2012, there were nearly half a million Syrian refugees.

Leaders failed to act in 2013 when the Assad regime massacred as many as 1,700 civilians in one morning with chemical weapons. That August, there were 1.8 million registered Syrian refugees.

Also in 2013, the UK failed to act when the Free Syrian Army faced attacks by ISIS forces infiltrating from Iraq. Instead of strengthening the FSA to withstand this new threat, UK MPs denied moderate forces the means to defend themselves.

By the end of 2013, there were 2.3 million registered Syrian refugees.

Leaders failed to act in 2014 as the Assad regime ignored UN resolutions on barrel bombing, on torturing and besieging civilians. Diplomacy without military pressure only emboldened Assad to continue the slaughter.

By the end of 2014, there were 3.7 million Syrian refugees.

Leaders failed to act in 2015 as Russia joined Assad in bombing hospitals, humanitarian aid convoys, and rescue workers, and Syrians were denied any means to defend themselves.

By the end of 2015, there were over 4.5 million Syrian refugees.

Now the UK Government is failing to act as Assad breaks ceasefire agreements and breaks deadlines on letting aid into besieged communities. The UK has failed to deliver on airdrops. The UK has failed to apply serious pressure to stop Assad’s bombs.

There are now 4.8 million Syrian refugees in the region. There are many millions more displaced inside Syria. Just over a million Syrians have applied for asylum in Europe, but that is a fraction of the total who have fled their homes.

The refugee crisis is just one impact of Assad’s war on Syrians. Voting to leave the European Union won’t insulate Britain from further effects of Syria’s man-made disaster. This crisis can’t be contained and must be brought to an end, and it can only end with the end of Assad.

Act now. Break the sieges. Stop the bombs. Stop the torture. Stop Assad.