On April 5 2016, the women of the besieged town of Dayara, Syria, in an initiative organised by the local Women Now Centre, made an urgent call for help to the world:
Daraya’s women say that they have been under siege for 3 years: “There is no food at all.”
They are cooking soups from spices to stave off hunger. They ask for an immediate lifting of the regime siege, and the provision of basic necessities: food, medicine, drinking water, clothes.
The UN has Security Council backing to deliver aid without regime permission, but they insist on awaiting permission from the regime. When world powers agreed to a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria, the parties agreed to “accelerate and expand the delivery of humanitarian aid beginning immediately.” But after an increase of aid convoys to besieged Syrian areas in February, the UN Security Council heard during a closed-door meeting last week that UN aid had reached fewer starving Syrians in March: only 21 percent of the total.
The UN recently relieved an ISIS siege of Deir Ezzor using Russian contractors for airdrops. The UK’s military has more experience and expertise in airdrops. For example, it dropped food to the Yazidi people in Northern Iraq in August 2014, using its airbases in Cyprus.
If the UK were to drop food and medical supplies on Daraya and other besieged towns, this would offer immediate salvation from starvation, as well as encourage the UN to be bolder in managing its own relief operations.
We demand an end to the weaponisation of food in war, and call on the UK Government to:
- Immediately drop food and humanitarian supplies to Daraya,
- Call on the UN to provide food and humanitarian aid to all besieged areas in Syria, with or without the permission of the regime or other combatants.
Rebecca Johnson, Women in Black
Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters
Professor Cynthia Cockburn, City University London, University of Warwick
And the following supporters of Women4Syria:
And the following British Syrian organisations:
Yasmine Nahlawi, Rethink Rebuild, Manchester
Reem Assil, Syrian Platform for Peace
Dr Sharif Kaf Al Ghazal, Syrian Association of Yorkshire
Amer Masri, Scotland4Syria
Dr Mohammad Alhadj Ali, Syrian Welsh Society
Dr Fadel Moghrabi, Peace and Justice for Syria
You can sign a petition calling on the UK Government to drop aid to besieged civilians here.