Eastern Aleppo has become a bloody graveyard

How you can help Syrians fleeing atrocities

David Miliband
Dec 14, 2016 · 3 min read

Eastern Aleppo has become a bloody graveyard for thousands of innocent people and for the death of respect for international law and the rules of war. We’ve seen countless attacks on the homes of civilians, institutions created for good — like hospitals and schools — bombed and destroyed, plus reports from the United Nations of families being shot in cold blood.

The people of Aleppo are caught between medieval sieges, the horror of aerial bombardment and house-by-house retribution. International Rescue Committee teams helping arrivals from Aleppo in Idlib have heard of families separated as men are detained as they try to flee.

Since 2011, the war in Syria has taken more than 400,000 lives and left 13.5 million people in need of aid. Photo: KHALED KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images

We cannot say we don’t know what is happening when the victims themselves are tweeting and sending messages out on Skype about the horrors they face. It remains vital for all international voices to demand protection for civilians as part of an end to the fighting. There are still lives in the balance in Aleppo, and it is vital they are saved, and those fleeing to Idlib require protection. There has never been more need for effective diplomacy to call a halt to what will come to be seen as a merciless slaughter.

“We cannot say we don’t know what is happening when the victims themselves are tweeting and sending messages out on Skype about the horrors they face.”

International leaders must stand together in condemning these atrocities and the further flouting of international humanitarian law. Leaders also need to demand protection for civilians and ensure accountability for these horrific acts.

The IRC is calling for President-elect Trump and President Obama to issue a joint statement indicating that the United States will demand accountability for atrocities inside Syria. This will demonstrate that American values and international leadership do not and will not depend on individuals within administrations. It also would signal that the U.S. will demand accountability for attacks on civilians and abuses of humanitarian law wherever and whenever they are found. There is no prospect for peace without it.

How the IRC is helping people fleeing Aleppo

Our aid workers in Idlib are providing emergency cash relief to arriving families in desperate need of food, blankets, heating and cooking fuel, and other essentials. We’ve reached 500 of the most vulnerable families, and hope to secure more funding to aid all 800 who reached the town of Al Dana this week, as well as to help future arrivals.

The IRC also supports 12 health facilities, five schools and four vocational training/job centers in Idlib. In all, more than 3,000 IRC aid workers and local volunteers operating inside Syria and in four neighboring countries have reached over 3.3 million Syrians fleeing violence with vital support. We are also assisting Syrians who have fled to safety in Europe or have been offered refuge in the United States.

How you can help

You can help save uprooted Syrians and other families in crisis by donating to the IRC.

Refugee crisis in Europe and Middle East: How the IRC helps

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping people to survive, recover and reclaim control of their future. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC has works in over 40 countries and in 28 resettlement offices across the United States. Learn more about the IRC’s response to the refugee crisis and how you can help.

Find more refugee voices in the IRC’s Uprooted publication on Medium.

Follow the IRC on Twitter and Facebook and Medium

David Miliband

Written by

President & CEO of the International Rescue Committee @theIRC. Personal account.



Produced by the International Rescue Committee, “Uprooted” keeps the spotlight on the individual human beings behind the tragic numbers of the refugee crisis.

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