More than 120 MPs on Sunday called on British Prime Minister Theresa May to authorize immediate airdrops of food and medicine to ease the desperate plight of adults and children trapped in besieged areas of Syria.
In a letter to the prime minister, the cross-party group says “the time for excuses is over” and that it is unacceptable that “nearly 100,000 children are facing the slowest, cruelest death because we cannot reach them with food and medical supplies.”
In early summer, before May became prime minister, the government said: “Preparations for airdrops will now take place and go forward rapidly because there isn’t a moment to lose”.
The MPs said that almost 200 days later thousands of Syrians are still waiting, “none more so than the 275,000 civilians trapped in besieged east Aleppo”.
“This is now the epicenter of the crisis. The Assad and Putin regimes are moving to ‘exterminate’ all those who have not already been killed as a consequence of their indiscriminate bombing campaigns.”
“In the last 10 days, all hospitals there, including the last children’s hospital, have been bombed out of operation. Centers belonging to the heroic volunteers of the White Helmets have also been destroyed. The last aid delivery was three months ago and medical workers estimate we have less than two weeks before all food runs out” the MPs wrote.
“With our Royal Air Force already operational in the air over Syria, we are calling on you to urgently authorize the air-dropping of aid to besieged civilian populations. It is simply not acceptable that during the biggest aid operation in the UN’s history, and in the full glare of the world’s media, nearly 100,000 children are facing the slowest, cruelest death because we cannot reach them with food and medical supplies.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said in response to the letter: “Our priority is the protection of civilians in Syria who face an appalling humanitarian situation. We call on the Assad regime and their Russian supporters to bring about an end to terrible crisis immediately. We will continue to look at all options with our international partners to alleviate the suffering of millions of Syrians.”
The MPs said that the UK has dependable allies in Aleppo including the White Helmets rescue group which is ready to coordinate collection and distribution of the airdrops “if we can summon the courage to carry them out”.
Syria’s civil defense said that nearly 500 civilians have been killed and over 1,600 wounded in the past 12 days as a result of the ongoing bombing campaign on Aleppo and its countryside. The bombings knocked out four hospitals and two civil defense centers. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Agencies)