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Tuesday 3 May 2016

Bread not Bombs: Today’s #BrimstoneBlockers protest

Sisters Against The Arms Trade are protesting today at the MBDA missile factory in the UK, closing its operations. MBDA are manufacturers of the Brimstone missile, a weapon which played a key role in David Cameron’s arguments in favour of precision British airstrikes.

Since the vote in favour of airstrikes, the UK has bombed oil wells and tankers, but left alone the Assad regime, the No.1 customer for ISIS oil.

Now Assad and his allies are escalating their bombardment of Syrian civilians while the UK stands by offering nothing but words in response. The Assad regime and its allies are maintaining starvation sieges against Syrian civilians while the UK refuses to drop aid. The Assad regime’s violence is driving more and more Syrians to flee, while the UK refuses to give sanctuary to unaccompanied child refugees.

An excerpt from the Sisters Against The Arms Trade press release:

At least a million people are living under siege in Syria. Aleppo has been subject to intense bombardment by Assad’s forces, with hundreds killed in the last week alone. Women in the besieged town of Daraya are facing starvation and have issued an urgent call for help:

“There is no food at all in Daraya. There are cases of malnutrition and we have resorted to cooking soups made purely of spices in order to stave off hunger. We call on the United Nations and all humanitarian and relief organisations to enter the town immediately and deliver humanitarian aid.”

Over 470,000 people have been killed since the war began, and an estimated 4 million are living as refugees. In November 2015, Parliament made the decision to bomb Syria despite widespread condemnation by the British public, and just over a week ago voted against a proposal that would have seen the UK accept 3,000 Syrian children from refugee camps in Europe.

A Sisters Against the Arms Trade spokesperson added: “Syrian women are bearing the brunt of war, siege, starvation and exile in refugee camps across Europe, besieged towns and cities, and suffering from or resisting ISIS and other forces which have co-opted Syrian resistance to dictatorship for their own interests. We call for safe passage and support for all refugees and for an end to the war profiteering arms trade.”

A spokesperson for Syria Solidarity UK said, “With the UN failing to deliver, others have a duty to protect civilians. The UK, the US, the Netherlands: all of them have a proven ability to carry out air drops, but all they drop in Syria are bombs. The UK already has the necessary capacity nearby in Cyprus. The UK should stop making excuses and start saving lives.”

Read the Sisters Against The Arms Trade press release in full here.

Photo via Ewa Jasiewicz.

Activists read a letter from women of the besieged town of Daraya. Read the words of the Daraya women here.

#Women4Syria statement in solidarity with the women of Daraya.