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Wednesday 24 May 2017

Manchester Syrians shocked, appalled by horrific attack—Syrian doctors were among first-line responders

Rethink Rebuild Society

Manchester’s Syrian community unequivocally condemns the senseless and horrific attack which took place on 22 May in Manchester Arena. We are shocked that such a brutal act could be carried in our tolerant, open, and diverse city of Manchester, the city that welcomed us with open arms when we fled from Assad’s terrorism in Syria.

Manchester Syrian residents at the 23 May Manchester vigil in Albert Square.

At least six Syrian doctors (A&E, Orthopaedic, and General Surgery) from three hospitals in Manchester and Lancashire were among the front-line responders to the 22 May attack: Dr. Mohammed Almorie (A&E); Dr. Ahmad Khaled (Trauma and Orthopaedics); Dr. Mounir Hakimi (Orthopaedics); Dr. Ayman Jundi (A&E); and two other doctors who did not wish to be named (Orthopaedics and General Surgery).

Dr. Ahmad Khaled, Orthopaedics Registrar, was one of the front-line responders to this week’s attack. He said, ‘I received a call on Tuesday 2:30 am asking if I could come and help in assessing and treating those multiply injured patients as a result of the horrific attack. As a Syrian Doctor—most doctors will do the same—I felt that it was my duty to help in alleviating the significant pain of those casualties surgically alongside my colleagues from all backgrounds. My heart goes to all of those whom I have been involved in the care of as well as all other victims and their families.’

Dr. Mounir Hakimi, a British Syrian Orthopeadic Surgeon, will be operating on a victim of the Manchester attack in Lancashire. Dr. Hakimi is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Syria Relief (a Manchester-based Syrian charity) and has travelled numerous times to Syria to treat victims of terror in the country. His reaction to the Manchester terror attack: ‘I have been treating shrapnel wounds in Syria for the past six years. I never imagined that I would one day be doing the same following an attack in the UK. As a Syrian doctor, it grieves me to see the immense physical and psychological traumas which result from such attacks and I grieve for all of the victims and their families, friends, loved ones, and communities.’

Dr. Yasmine Nahlawi, Research & Policy Coordinator at Rethink Rebuild Society, says on the attack: ‘We grieve for the loss of those killed in this week’s attack and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones. As Syrians we condemn all such attacks as violence can only breed more violence.’

Rethink Rebuild Society has established itself as a non-profit organisation that acts as an umbrella for the British Syrian community, and endeavours to clarify the Syrian cause to its audience in the UK and the wider public.

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Libya and Syria, and the failure of the UN

Labour’s leader is drawing the wrong lessons on Libya and Syria, argues Clara Connolly

Jeremy Corbyn opened his recent Chatham House speech by recalling his youth, lived in the shadow of the Cold War. ‘I was haunted by images of civilians fleeing chemical weapons used by the United States,’ he said. I similarly recall these TV images of the Vietnam war—the great wake up call to our generation of rebellious youth.

He continued: ‘I didn’t imagine then that nearly fifty years later we would see chemical weapons still being used against innocent civilians. What an abject failure. How is it that history keeps repeating itself?’

But hold on—who’s been using the chemical weapons now? It’s not the United States, though you could easily assume that this is what he meant. No, history does not have the smooth arc over 50 years that he suggests, and the villains of 2013 or 2017 are not the same as those of the 1960s.

Jeremy Corbyn’s great theme is the interventionist wars of the West, especially of the US, with the UK trailing its coat tails: the era of ‘bomb first, talk later’ which he proposes to draw to a close with the advent of a Labour Government, ushering in a new era of international peace and cooperation under the auspices of the United Nations. It’s an attractive vista, to those with an imperfect grasp of recent history. I wish I could suspend my disbelief.

He says ‘the regime change wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria failed.’ I have no quarrel with him about Iraq, but I wonder what Libya and Syria are doing in that list?

Saturday 13 May 2017

Track Syria air attacks. Publish the radar data.

On 19 September 2016, a UN inter agency aid convoy was attacked in Big Orem, Syria. Twenty aid workers were killed and the UN convoy was destroyed.

The Washington Post reported that US radar had tracked two SU-24 bombers in the area flying from Russia’s Khmeimim air base. The radar data was not released to the public.

When the Assad regime used chemical weapons to bomb the town of Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April 2017, the US did release tracking data. Radar data showed the bomber had flown from Assad’s al Shayrat air base.

Both Conservative and Labour MPs have called for the UK to publish radar data on attacks against civilians.

The UK has the capacity to track military aircraft across Syria.

The Royal Navy’s Type 45 Destroyers use S1850M long range radar, able to track up to 1,000 air targets at a range of around 400 km.

An RAF E-3D Sentry’s radar can scan distances of over 300 nautical miles. It can detect low-flying aircraft within 215 nmls (400 km).
  • Publish the radar tracking data.
  • Name those responsible for war crimes.
  • Sanction the violators.

See our single page leaflet explaining how the UK can track aircraft committing war crimes.

Read our proposals to protect civilians in Syria.

Ask your local candidates to support policies to protect civilians.

Monday 8 May 2017

Election 2017

We invite candidates to consider these pledges to protect civilians and bring peace to Syria.

Please use this simple online form to ask your local candidates for their support.

You can also print the list of pledges to give to your local candidates.

Rethink Rebuild Society • Syrian Association of Yorkshire • Syria Solidarity UK • Kurds House • Syrian Community of the South West • Syrian Platform for Peace • Scotland4Syria • Syrian Welsh Society • Help 4Syria UK • Peace and Justice for Syria • Syria Society of Nottinghamshire

For more information contact info@syriauk.org

An election manifesto on Syria

PDF version

The international community has failed to protect civilians in Syria.

The Syrian conflict is still ongoing after more than six years. We have witnessed the gassing of children; the deliberate targeting of hospitals, schools, markets, and bakeries; the starvation sieges of civilian communities; the forced displacement of entire towns; and the drowning of refugees at sea.

If elected MP, I pledge to:

1. Affirm the democratic right of Syrians to choose their own future free from dictatorship and terror.
2. Call for the UK to track and publish details of military aircraft flights by the Assad regime and Russia that may be responsible for unlawful attacks on civilians.
3. Call for drone aid airdrops to besieged civilians to provide immediate relief and add pressure for full ground access.
4. Call for the UK to help enforce an end to attacks against civilian targets by the Assad regime and its allies.
5. Call for widened sanctions against the Assad regime and its supporters for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
6. Call for the UK to pursue all avenues to bring perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice, including through universal jurisdiction as well as international legal mechanisms.
7. Call for the UK to pursue a ‘Uniting for Peace’ vote in the UN General assembly recommending action to protect civilians.
8. Demand the highest standards of accountability of all our Coalition partners for air strikes taking place in Syria.