Syria activists urge UK to end Eastern Ghouta massacres

Syria activists urge UK's Boris Johnson to help end Eastern Ghouta massacres
3 min read
22 February, 2018
A group of Syria activists in the UK have delivered a letter to Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, demanding action to end the crisis in Eastern Ghouta.
Syria activists say Johnson has options to end the bloodshed in Ghouta [SyriaUK]
Syrian activists in London have petitioned UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson to help end Bashar al-Assad's brutal bombing of Eastern Ghouta, which has killed more than 300 people since Sunday.

A delegation from the SyriaUK activist group delivered a letter to the foreign minister at his office on Wednesday evening.

It stated that UK inaction gives the Syrian regime and Russia free rein to continue their brutal assault on civilians in the Damascus countryside.

"Given the political will" steps could be taken by the UK government to protect civilian lives in Eastern Ghouta, the letter read.

Among the suggestions was for Johnson to summon the Russian ambassador and demand an end to the bombing.

SyriaUK also urged London to impose sanctions on Moscow, airdrop food and aid on besieged Eastern Ghouta, or launch air strikes on Syrian bases to ground the regime's air force.

"Don't just shrug your shoulders and blame current inaction on the mistakes in 2013," the letter urges, referring to parliament's vote against military intervention in Syria following a chemical massacre in Ghouta, five years ago.

"The UK has been militarily engaged in Syria since 2015, and we have the power to save lives now. History will not look kindly on the powerful who stood by while Syrian towns - and their inhabitants - were obliterated."

Syria and Russia's brutal bombing of Eastern Ghouta has been widely condemned by aid and human rights groups, as dozens of children die daily from the shelling and barrel bomb attacks on the opposition enclave.

The head of the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM) described the assault on Eastern Ghouta as "one of the worst attacks in Syrian history, even worse than the sieges of Aleppo".

Hundreds died during the Assad regime's offensive to take city's rebel-held eastern districts, sparking one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern times.
The letter was delivered to Boris Johnson [SyriaUK]

The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) said the current Ghouta bombing was "horrific, unacceptable and appalling".

UNICEF issued a blank statement saying it no longer had words to describe "children's suffering or its outrage".

Six hospitals have been put out of action in the regime's air strikes on the besieged Damascus suburb.

Footage from medical facilities have shown doctors and nurses struggling to treat the hundreds of victims dug from the rubble after five days of relentless bombing. 

The Red Cross has also urged Damascus to allow its workers to enter the besieged territories, warning that the death toll will undoubtedly rise unless the injured are treated.

Despite the pleas, the relentless bombing continued Thursday morning.

Amr Salahi of Syria Solidarity UK described what is happening in Ghouta as plain and simple "mass murder". He also said measures could be taken by Johnson to reduce the suffering.

"There are some very simple things that the UK and US governments can do to stop it, when the UN remains unable to act. Embarrass the Russians by publishing the flight details of the planes which are killing people," he said in addition to the other steps suggested in the letter.

"Doing nothing while the killing is going on is to collude in these crimes. We call on Boris Johnson to break his silence."