Syria – Partial ceasefire has saved lives, but still a long way to go…

It will inevitably require boots on the ground to enforce a more complete ceasefire and for the transition to free and fair elections in Syria late next year.

* * * *

The following is from the Syria Campaign.

Dear Friend,

“Can you hear that? … It’s the birds singing…” That’s what one of the rescue heroes of the White Helmets said over the radio on the first day of the partial ceasefire in Syria.

Over the past few days there have been dozens of violations of this break in the fighting. We’ve been reporting sniper fire, barrel bombs and Russian air raids.[1] But while the violence has not stopped, it has reduced. And that means innocent civilians that would otherwise have been killed in the extreme carnage of Syria are still alive today. In short, the partial ceasefire has saved lives.

But right now the ceasefire is extremely fragile and it’s not just the violence that endangers it.

A key part of the agreement negotiated by the US and Russia was that aid would be delivered to areas under horrific ‘starvation sieges’ at the start of the ceasefire. This hasn’t been honoured. The Assad regime which is denying access to 99% of those under siege in Syria continues to block aid trucks.[2] Apart from a few small deliveries by the UN to some areas, the vast majority of those going hungry have seen nothing. In one of the worst hit towns, Daraya, many are on the very edge of starvation.

The continued denial of aid to besieged areas is a major breach of the ceasefire and threatens the whole agreement.

But there is something we can do. Tomorrow, in less than 24 hours, the most powerful countries in the world that make up the international “Humanitarian Task Force” on Syria will meet in Geneva to negotiate aid delivery.

These are diplomats and politicians that respond to public scrutiny and together have sway over the Assad regime. If they feel the pressure from the world outside their negotiation room, they will push harder to get this aid in. It’s the best hope of keeping this fragile ceasefire alive.

Take a moment to sign this urgent petition to the Humanitarian Task Force to ensure aid delivery to besieged areas like Daraya today. Let them know we’re watching:

http://act.thesyriacampaign.org/sign/save-ceasefire/

In solidarity,

James

NOTES

[1] We’ve been monitoring possible violations of the ceasefire at www.syriaceasefiremonitor.org

[2] Read more about the situation of sieges in Syria at http://www.breakthesieges.org

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