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Friday 22 April 2016

Syrian and UK doctors and aid workers call for airdrops to all besieged areas

The following statement comes from Syrian and British doctors and aid workers of UOSSM, Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations. For more, see Richard Spencer’s report, Syrian doctors call for RAF aid drops to civilians suffering ‘mass starvation.’

You can support the call for air drops by signing and sharing the petition to Government here:

If you are a medical worker and would like to add your support to the statement below, please email info@syriauk.org

Issued by UOSSM, Gazantiep, Turkey:

Doctors: Ceasefire in peril as Syria’s humanitarian crisis worsens, airdrops to all besieged areas urgently needed

Across Syria, hundreds of thousands of innocent women, men and children are confronting starvation, as ongoing starve and siege tactics put the tenuous Syrian ceasefire in jeopardy.  As Syrian doctors, nurses and medics and their supporters we cannot stand at the sidelines as our people are being starved to death in full view of the international community, which has thus far failed to break the sieges in Syria.

We are working day in and day out to save lives from barrel bomb attacks and artillery fire, including chemical weapons, only to see innocent women and children die of starvation that is entirely preventable. We cannot understand why our people are permitted to starve, when the international community could air drop aid and end starvation overnight.

18 communities are currently under siege, the vast majority by Assad’s forces.  And where the Assad regime does provide limited access to UN convoys, these are under strict conditions, including the regime’s removal of any medical aid for thousands of besieged Syrians. Only one of area under siege—Deir Ezzor—has received airdrops. In the remainder, civilians are being asked to fend for themselves and mass starvation is the result.  As Syrians and as doctors, we cannot understand why all efforts are not being undertaken to reach all people in need. This despite the UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien encouraging Member States to explore all options to break the sieges, including through humanitarian aid drops.

Airdrops are not a perfect solution, but they are the best hope our people have of avoiding starvation, and they are the only way to give hundreds of thousands of Syrians on the ground the hope and belief in the political negotiations in Geneva.  It is incomprehensible to us that world leaders believe they can reach a peace agreement in Geneva while Syrians are being starved to death in Daraya.

The world can relieve the suffering in besieged areas, but it is choosing not to.  This failure is putting the ceasefire in peril, and it is costing the lives of our people.   The British Government has indicated it will consider air drops as a last resort… we are well and truly at that point now.

Dr David Nott OBE (UK)
Dr Ghanem Tayara (Syrian, UK)
Dr Redwan (Syrian, UK)
Dr Abdullah (Syrian, UK)
Dr Chamaa (Syrian, Switzerland)
Dr Ayham Al-Zoebi (Syrian, Germany)
Dr BANANEH Ahmed (Syrian, France)
Dr Issam MOUSSLY (Syrian, France)
Dr Anas Al Kassem (Syrian, Canada)
Dr Khaula Sawah (Syrian, USA)
Dr Wahiba Chaker (Syrian, Turkey)
Dr Hassan Wazait (Syrian, UK)
Hamish de Bretton-Gordon OBE (UK)