Last week, the war in Syria marked a gruesome anniversary, with the nature and scope of the humanitarian tragedy continuing to defy description. The past year witnessed the deaths of tens of thousands of Syrians. The regime in Damascus and its allies continued to strike hospitals and other civilian targets. The war crimes now continue in the siege of Eastern Ghouta. In this statement, Refugees International calls on the United States and international community to take immediate action to end this years-old crisis.
Refugees International condemns today’s heinous chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria’s Idlib province, as well as the follow-on airstrikes targeting hospitals where scores of victims were being treated. The alleged repeated use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime during the ongoing conflict is a violation of international law and a war crime, as is the targeting of civilian medical facilities.
As participants prepare for the Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region conference in Brussels this week, Refugees International calls on the international community to recognize and respond to the continued urgency of humanitarian needs inside Syria, and of many Syrians in the surrounding region.
On March 18, the EU and Turkey will mark the one-year anniversary of their joint statement, which sought to stem the flows of asylum-seekers and migrants crossing from Turkey’s shores to the Greek islands. But as this anniversary approaches, Refugees International believes there little cause to celebrate and much more cause for concern. While EU leaders have presented the policy as a success, pointing to the significant decrease in the number of arrivals on the Greek islands since March 2016, the policy has also left thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers stranded in Greece in shocking conditions and has eroded the right to seek asylum in Europe.
As Syrian and Russian forces continue their brutal assault on Aleppo, thousands of people remain trapped in the city – innocent men, women, and children who face death with each passing hour. This human tragedy shocks and horrifies us all.
Despite the joy felt when a young Syrian girl was pulled from Aleppo’s rubble on Friday, the images from the besieged city have been shocking this week – even by the standards of Syria’s horrific war. For the past several days, the internet has been filled with ghastly images of dust-laden corpses left half-buried in the remains of bombed-out buildings. Syrian civilians continue to be killed in the latest round of bombardment by Russian and Syrian forces.
As humanitarian and human rights organisations working to alleviate the plight of civilians affected by the crisis in Syria, we welcome efforts by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) to pressure the Syrian government and non-state armed actors to lift the sieges across the country and ensure that civilians have unhindered access to humanitarian aid.
World leaders in London this week for a high-level conference on Syria must commit to an ambitious and transformational new multi-billion dollar deal for Syrian refugees and the countries hosting them in the region, a global coalition of more than ninety humanitarian and human rights groups said today.