The British public can send strong message to the UK Government that this year must be the last one of the conflict.
The war in Syria will have been raging for three years this Saturday, March 15. The date marks the third anniversary of the start of the ongoing conflict. Over the past three years, the humanitarian situation in the country has worsened. The extent of the crisis is almost impossible to comprehend.
More than 130,000 are already dead, and every month a further 6,000 people are killed. There is also a displacement crisis of the worst possible level. Workers for NGOs, activists, and journalists have risked their lives over the past few years working in Syria to lessen the humanitarian crisis and to raise public awareness of the appalling reality of life for the Syrian people.
Responsibility for the conflict lies with President Assad’s regime. However, it also represents a three year long collective failing of the international community to agree on how to help ensure the end of the suffering. Extremism is rising, and terrorist attacks within neighbouring Lebanon demonstrate that concerns about the conflict spilling into neighbouring countries are becoming a reality. Neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq are straining under humanitarian pressure. In Lebanon alone, the World Bank has estimated the Syrian refugee crisis has cost over $7.5bn (£4.5bn).
There is a very real danger now the Geneva II talks have ended and the situation in Syria has not improved that the crisis will be overshadowed by other international events. Domestic events will dominate the UK political calendar over the next few months; next week’s budget, the local elections in May, followed by the Queen’s Speech in June – the last before the 2015 General Election.
The British public (including LCID members) have an important role in ensuring that all eyes remain on Syria. Syria must remain at the top of the UK Government agenda, and, together with international partners, the UK Government must do everything possible to press for a political solution, including engaging with those who have influence over the Assad regime.
For individuals, writing to, or better still arranging a meeting with, their MP to discuss the importance of ending the Syrian conflict is the best way to do this.
A strong message must be sent to the UK Government, and to the international community, that this year must be the last year of the conflict. We must reassert our solidarity with the people of Syria, and stand #WithSyria.