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European Parliament debates crisis in Yarmouk camp

The world must hear the plight of refugees in Syria

SNP MEP Alyn Smith, member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, was in charge of shaping an urgent resolution this week concerning the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, where the security and humanitarian situation of 18,000 Palestinians and Syrians living in the camp is deteriorating.

By adopting the resolution, members of the European Parliament condemned the acts of terrorism against the camp and its siege and bombardment by the Assad regime.

Alyn said: 

“The camp, which has seen protests against Syria's ruler Bashar al Assad from 2011 onwards, is now not only suffering Government sieges and bombings but also incursions from ISIS fighters. It’s hard to imagine that this once was a thriving and popular neighborhood of Damascus.

“The joint work that has led to the adoption of this urgency resolution sets an example for our Parliament, and we must work together because the conflict in Syria is uncontrolled and needs Europe's, and the world's highest attention.

“The Parliament has sent a strong signal today and stressed that the neutral status of Yarmouk and the protection of the civilians inside the camp, particularly women and children, must be ensured as well as medical facilities, schools and places of refuge safeguarded.

“I welcome the UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura’s announcement last week of renewed Geneva talks to be held in May between Syria's regime, the opposition, the United Nations Security Council members and regional powers including Iran. A political solution must be sought and it urgently must bring peace and security to the region.

“We reiterate the European Parliament's call to release all political prisoners from Assad's prisons, tens of thousands of Syrians. We have also condemned the recent atrocities perpetrated by ISIS since their intermittent presence in the Yarmouk camp. 

"The Syrian regime's inhumane siege of the Yarmouk Camp, cutting water and electricity but also basic humanitarian aid since 2013, is yet another reminder that the world cannot and should not see Assad as an ally against ISIS. On the contrary, both need to be opposed through all legal and political means possible."

Alyn’s speech in plenary is available here: