SACC Statement on the Bombing of Aleppo

SACC Emergency Statement, 3 May 2016

SACC condemns the continuing airstrikes on Aleppo by Syrian Government and/or Russian forces. The airstrikes are producing a humanitarian catastrophe. Taking place under the umbrella of a supposed peace process, they shame all the governments represented in the International Syria Support Group and the UN Security Council.

We congratulate all those who took part in the protest in Edinburgh on 30th April against the airstrikes. We call on people around the world, and especially in Russia, to speak out against Russia’s role in the slaughter of Syrian civilians.

We remain opposed to any British military intervention in Syria. Britain’s history in the region demonstrates that British military involvement is certain to exacerbate rather than ameliorate the problems facing the Syrian people. Britain’s current participation in the bombing of alleged ISIS forces and facilities by the US-led coalition is adding needlessly to the civilian death-toll.

We are also opposed to covert political and propaganda intervention by Britain in Syria. Britain is not a friend of revolution and British manipulation will do nothing but harm to Syrian political life.

Richard Haley, Chair of SACC said:

"Reports emerging from Aleppo are heartbreaking. The bombing of Al Quds Hospital by Syrian and/or Russian forces is particularly abhorrent. This incident follows the attack by US forces on a hospital in Afghanistan in October 2015 and several attacks on hospitals in Yemen by forces of the Saudi-led coalition, as well as many other less publicised attacks on health facilities in various conflicts around the world. The UK Government must press for the UN to reaffirm and strengthen the protection of healthcare under international law.

Britain’s bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria serves no purpose other than to squeeze David Cameron’s foot through the Syrian door. Apart from that, it is marginal to the situation in Syria. Syrian Government forces and their allies, rather than ISIS, remain the main threat to Syrian civilians.

If the British Government wishes to make a useful contribution to the situation, it should press vigorously and seriously for an agreement, as part of the peace process, to unconditionally ground the Syrian air force. And it should act urgently to facilitate airdrops to besieged civilians.

The rebel forces in Aleppo also need to respect the lives of civilians. This is a duty under international law and a necessity if a political movement reflecting the revolutionary spirit of 2011 is to have any chance of re-establishing itself.

Any initiative that brings peace, or even a respite, to the people of Syria, should be encouraged. But the current peace process is deeply flawed and represents little more than an attempt to re-configure the international rivalry that has been responsible for the destruction of Syria. It is likely to lead to an attempt to re-establish a torture regime no better than the one that Syrians rebelled against in 2011, but this time with international backing. That would just pile a new tragedy on top of those already suffered by the people of Syria and deal a new blow to regional and world peace."