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Press Release
October 11, 2016

Emergency Aleppo Debate in Parliament will Achieve Little Unless Backed by Strong Actions

by
Henry Jackson Society

Henry Jackson Society Director calls on MPs to follow up words on Syria with support for humanitarian safe zone

Later today the House of Commons will hold an emergency debate on the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Aleppo. In recent weeks there has been a dramatic deterioration of the situation there, with the civilian death toll continuing to rise. In contravention of international law we have witnessed the shelling of aid convoys to that city, as well as the bombings of clinics and warehouses containing vital medical and food supplies. During the Syrian government’s recent bombardment some 18 humanitarian aid workers have been killed and several more seriously injured.

The international community has so far failed in its obligations to protect the civilian population in Aleppo. While it is right that this subject be given attention in Parliament as matter of urgency, there are concerns that strong words from politicians and diplomats will not be backed up with the necessary actions.

Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of the Henry Jackson Society, said: “While MPs’ interest in the plight of Aleppo and Syria more generally is to be welcomed, and Russia’s role in the destruction has rightly been highlighted‎, this will be nothing more than a breast beating exercise unless they are prepared to take action. Britain should support the idea of safe areas in northern Syria where civilians are safe from attack and commit force in order to patrol them with other allies. If we are serious about stopping Russia and Assad in their murderous tracks, we will need more than words to do so. Until they feel potential consequences, they will continue to dismember the country.”
Kyle Orton, Associate Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, said: “Any possible solution has to prioritise civilian protection and that means being prepared to deter and punish with force the Assad regime for egregious violations of human rights. Ideally a no-fly zone would be placed over Aleppo to stop the pro-regime coalition launching any air attacks at all in the area since it hardly targets terrorists, and instead targets civilians and Western-aligned opposition groups in an attempt to make them submit.”

Notes to Editors:

The Henry Jackson Society is a think tank and policy-shaping force that fights for the principles and alliances which keep societies free – working across borders and party lines to combat extremism, advance democracy and real human rights, and make a stand in an increasingly uncertain world.  Henry Jackson Society research and events provide key analysis and insight to policy- makers and the media.

The Henry Jackson Society can provide interviews with experts including the Executive Director Alan Mendoza, and Associate Fellow, Kyle Orton.

For interview requests or further comment, please contact the Henry Jackson Society.