We, the undersigned 25 NGOs, provide humanitarian services to over 5 million Syrians. We are writing to the world’s leaders to call for immediate action to stop the massacre in Aleppo and to set a process in motion for civilian evacuation and protection monitoring in the city.
As the world’s diplomats meet in Geneva, New York and today in Brussels, humanity takes its final breath in Aleppo. The advances made in the past two weeks by forces loyal to the Syrian government, supported by Russian airpower and global inaction, have exposed the hollowness, inefficacy and moral bankruptcy of the international community.
World leaders must act today, and European leaders must not leave Brussels before having a plan to protect Syrian civilians.
Today, thousands of civilians remain trapped within four neighborhoods in East Aleppo, after tens of thousands were displaced in the Syrian government’s offensive. They await their fate as all negotiations for medical and civilian evacuations, including for the safe passage of what remains of East Aleppo’s 1,500 humanitarian workers, have failed. For those of us involved in the negotiations with the various civilian, armed opposition, U.N., Russian and international channels, it is gravely disappointing that what remaining ounces of hope for the basic preservation of life have diminished in the Syrian government’s harrowing push for an outright victory.
In the past week, as momentum and urgency seemingly grew for any sort of negotiated civilian and medical evacuations, medical staff have reported chemical attacks and continued aerial and artillery bombardment, despite Russia’s announcements of a cease-fire. What astounds us as humanitarians is how something as horrific as a chemical attack has become everyday news.
In the past five years we have been supported by the Friends of Syria, red lines were crossed, children were gassed, hospitals were bombed and people starved to death.
We have allowed world leaders to co-opt the humanitarian community, to continue to invoke their outrage over the carnage in Syria without doing anything to stop it. No longer. We must now say to our “Friends” that they are complicit in the creation of the gravest humanitarian crisis of our time, in the creation of millions of refugees and the destruction of all of the principles of the Geneva Convention.
We condemn, in the strongest terms, the international community, in its entirety, for its complicity in the massacre of Aleppo. We condemn the parties’ inability to evacuate the critically wounded, the chronically ill, the humanitarian workers, and the civilians, and the failure to protect those who were evacuated to west Aleppo.
We condemn the Russian Federation for its role in bombing hospitals, terrorizing innocent children and besieging Aleppo.
We condemn the Syrian government for waging a war against its people, for turning medics into targets and for denying humanitarian aid to besieged populations.
We condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran for helping supply the Syrian government with militia forces that now hinder the evacuation process from Aleppo.
We call for immediate action to:
– Protect the civilians of Aleppo and stop the ongoing massacre in the city.
– Begin a process for the evacuation of all civilians to where they feel safe and protected. The international community must insist on independent observers (the U.N. or other external actors) to be present and for civilian evacuations not to be allowed to mask political objectives, such as population swaps.
– Institute a protection mechanism by international humanitarian actors for monitoring the IDPs in the western side of the city.
– Create an accountability mechanism to assure that this will not happen again.
Syrian NGO Alliance (SNA)
1- Big Heart
2- Binaa Organization for Development
3- Ghiras Al Nahda
4- Ghiras Foundation for Child Care
5- Hand In Hand For Aid and Development
6- Ihsan for Relief and Development
7- Masrat – The Syrian Establishment For Human Care & Enhancement 8- Orient
9- PAC – Physician Across Continents
10- Syrian American Medical Society – SAMS
11- Social Development International – SDI
12- Syrian Expatriate Medical Association – SEMA
13- Sham Humanitarian Foundation
14- Syria Relief
15- Syria Relief and Development
16- Takaful Alsham Organization
17- Union of Relief and Medical Care Organizations – UOSSM
SHAML CSOs COALITION
18- Basmeh & Zeitooneh
20- Kesh Malek
21- Local Development & Small Project Support
22- Olive Branch
23- Women Now for Development.
25- Independent Doctors Association IDA
This article was originally published by the Independent Doctors Association and is reprinted here with permission.
The views expressed in this article belong to the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Syria Deeply.