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The Syria Campaign welcomes ISSG call for air drops
17 May, 2016
Airdrops announcement follows months of campaigning by The Syria Campaign and Syrian groups on the ground.
The International Syria Support Group (ISSG) called on the World Food Program today to carry out a program for air bridges and airdrops to besieged areas in Syria from June 1, if the UN continues to be denied access. The ISSG statement reads:
Starting June 1, if the UN is denied humanitarian access to any of the designated besieged areas, the ISSG calls on the World Food Program to immediately carry out a program for air bridges and air drops for all areas in need.
The Syria Campaign has campaigned alongside the Daraya Local Council and Women Now for Development for airdrops over besieged towns, and particularly to the town of Daraya which remains on the verge of starvation. Since March, 13,400 people from across the world sent messages to representatives from the International Syria Support Group including the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia and France. Many others made phone calls to the UK and US missions at the United Nations. The Syria Campaign worked with over two dozen parliamentarians from Europe to get their backing for air drops in an open letter to their leaders.
Ahmad Mujahid, spokesperson Daraya Local Council said:
“We can’t judge or celebrate until we see the aid with our own eyes. We were hopeful during these last two months of peace but now we’re being shelled again. Our wheat harvests are being burned. The regime is trying to make the siege even more difficult.”
James Sadri, director of The Syria Campaign said:
“Today shows what public pressure can achieve. We are seeing the hint of a backbone from the international community that everyone assumed had disappeared. But any celebration is tempered by the reality that airdrops are only a drop in the ocean for the more than a million people suffering from starvation sieges in Syria. Now we know that the US and Russia can defy Assad, it’s surely time to break these brutal sieges across Syria, protect hospitals from barrel bombs and open up the dungeons holding thousands of political prisoners. When that happens, there will really be something to celebrate.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
– The airdrops campaign can be seen here: https://act.thesyriacampaign.org/sign/airdrop-aid-syria-now/
– European MPs urge governments to make airdrops to Syrian civilians http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/28/european-mps-urge-governments-to-make-airdrops-to-syrian-civilians
– 1.1 million people live under siege in Syria according to Siege Watch (www.siegewatch.org), with 47 out of 50 areas are besieged by the Syrian government.
– The Syria Campaign was established in 2014 as an independent advocacy group to focus on the protection of civilians in Syria. To maintain its impartiality, The Syria Campaign accepts no funding from governments or any group involved in the conflict www.thesyriacampaign.org