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Sunday 29 May 2016

Break the sieges! Air drops now! Join us 6pm every day this week at Downing St.

Deadline: 1 June • Break the Sieges • Protect Civilians

Please join us at Downing Street, London, 6pm daily all this week.

We are calling on the UK to keep their promise to Syrians and start humanitarian air drops from 1st June.

57 NGOs have welcomed the proposed air drops, and called on ISSG governments including the UK to ‘ensure that the best conditions possible are put in place for air drops.’

Patrick Wintour writes for Monday’s Guardian on the UN’s reluctance to carry out aid drops:
Syria: Fears of UN reversal over aid airdrops plan

Concern is growing that the United Nations is backtracking on plans to use airdrops to send food and urgent medicine to besieged towns in Syria, amid indications that the organisation believes the tactic is too dangerous without the support of the Syrian government.

A meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) on 17 April in Vienna said it would start airdrops from 1 June if Bashar al-Assad’s government continued to block World Food Programme aid and prevent land convoys reaching besieged areas.

The decision was passed unanimously by the 20-plus countries in the ISSG, including the US and Russia, and was hailed as a breakthrough by the British foreign secretary, Phillip Hammond.

A number of UK politicians have criticised the UN stance:
The apparent reversal was condemned by the former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown, who said: “The deadline set by the ISSG poses a serious question. Are the words of the international community meant to mean anything? We would all much rather airdrops did not have to be contemplated—they are complex operations—but if the 1 June deadline passes without ground convoys getting in then the UK has to see that the international commitment to the people of Syria is fulfilled. Not only are lives on the line, so is the credibility of the ISSG.”

Jason McCartney, the Conservative MP for Colne Valley and a former RAF officer, said: “We are at the stage of last resort where airdrops – however imperfect – are the only way to save lives.”

Jo Cox, the Labour MP who has raised the issue of airdrops most consistently, said: “If the words of the foreign secretary and the international community don’t turn to action, if we don’t see aid getting in by road or by air, then we’ve reached a new low making empty promises to starving children.”

Read the full story.

Email your MP about humanitarian air drops here.

Join us at Downing Street, 6pm every day this week, to call for humanitarian air drops.

If the UN won’t do the job, the RAF can and should.

Break the sieges.

Air drops now.