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British MPs call for 'no bombing' zones in Syria

Slain MP Jo Cox was committed to protect civilians in Syrian [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 August, 2016

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In memory of their slain colleague Jo Cox, 30 Labour MPs urge the British government to establish no bomb zones around hospitals in Syria

Thirty Labour MPs urged the British government to create safe zones in Syria, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The lawmakers called for the establishment of "no bombing zones" around hospitals in Syria, urging their government to to use Navy frigates and RAF jets to retaliate if the zone was breached.

The move comes in memory of their slain colleague Jo Cox, who had committed herself to protect civilians in Syrian, founding and chairing the All Parliamentary Friends of Syria group.

"In life, Jo argued with such passion and eloquence that the UK armed forces could play a role in protecting civilians in Syria by reinforcing a 'no bomb' zone," John Woodcock, a close friend of Cox, told the Telegraph.

"This is a time for Britain to show courage and resolve which Jo herself exemplified by taking bolder action to end the horrific bloodshed," he added.

Former shadow foreign minister Pat McFadden backed the initiative, calling for a new outlook on Britain's intervention in Syria.

"The British contribution to attacking [Islamic State group] strongholds – in which our pilots do everything they can to avoid civilian causalities – is an important part of the effort to free the people of Syria from the brutality of what they have been enduring," the Telegraph reported McFadden as saying.

"The whole approach to Syria has been marked by a reluctance to intervene but telling ourselves that because we didn't break it we didn't buy it is of little comfort to the innocent victims of the war," he added.

Former international development secretary Mary Creagh said Britain's intervention in Syria, which comes as part of a coalition force against Islamic State [IS] group, has enabled the Syrian regime and Russian forces to inflict "unimaginable" suffering on the people of Syria.  

"Five years of western indifference have allowed Assad and now Putin to wreak unimaginable violence and suffering on the people of Syria," the Telegraph reported Creagh as saying.

"The sight of children burning tyres in Aleppo to protect themselves from barrel bombs shames us," she added.

US-led coalition airstrikes in Syria killed around 600 people, including 136 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Last year, the UK announced it was deploying 75 military personnel to train Syrian anti-IS forces as part of the US-led programme.

Earlier this month, the the first images of UK special forces operating in Syria emerged, showing armoured vehicles securing a base used by anti-IS forces along the Syria-Iraq border.

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