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. We say to the people of Aleppo, we stand with you and wish you strength in these terrible hours. You are not forgotten.
To the White Helmets, who show unbelievable bravery and bear witness to the unfolding atrocities, we stand with you as well and respect the dedication and courage you demonstrate each day.
Over the past six years, Refugees International has traveled to Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece to improve conditions for the people who could flee the terrible conflict in Syria and to increase the amount of humanitarian assistance that could get into Syria itself. Today, however, we all stand incapable of assisting the thousands of people trapped in Aleppo, completely unable to escape the raging conflict.
Like so many around the world, we at Refugees International are appalled by the murderous attacks by the Syrian and Russian governments – not just in Aleppo but across Syria. We must not allow Aleppo to become a case of mass civilian deaths that the world could have stopped.
The United States and the international community have expressed their outrage at the carnage in Syria again and again. But the time for simply expressing outrage has long passed. Action must be taken immediately.
Refugees International calls on the Syrian and Russian governments to end their assault on Aleppo and immediately honor a ceasefire. The United Nations and other humanitarian agencies must be given access to Aleppo so they can evacuate the wounded and escort out the civilians trapped by the fighting.
The UN Security Council has so far utterly failed to provide even the smallest measure of accountability for these heinous violations of international norms. We therefore call on the U.S. president to act and show leadership by establishing individual accountability for those foreign government and military officials responsible for the atrocities in Syria. The president can do so by exercising his statutory authority to act in emergency situations and by fully implementing provisions contained in U.S. human rights laws. Congress must also play its role by insisting that the statutory authorities it granted the president to establish accountability will be effectively implemented in the future.
The international community has stood by too long as the horror in Syria has unfolded year after year. We must not let another day pass before we take action.