Refugee Crisis - David Cameron Is Shirking Responsibility Over Syria

10 May 2016
Last Friday al-Kammouneh, a Syrian refugee camp a stone's throw from the Turkish border, was attacked from the air killing dozens in a suspected war crime.

"Look here! They're all women and children! No one else!" screamed an elderly refugee from among the wreckage in a widely circulated video. "Where is the world? Where is it?"

Most of the refugees in the camp had fled from Aleppo, a city that is not a part of the 'cessation of hostilities' that now has a tentative hold over swathes of Syria.

The ceasefire has been brokered by the Russians to free up the forces of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad to wrest back full control of Aleppo.

This means more urban fighting and it means more refugees fleeing to camps like al-Kammouneh and eventually to camps in Turkey to the north.

This is to say that the dynamics of Syria's civil war mean that the refugee crisis engulfing the Levant and to a lesser extent Europe will not be resolved any time soon.

Turkey is currently hosting around two million refugees. Lebanon, a country half the size of Wales, is now hosting 1.2million Syrian refugees, more than the total number of refugees in Europe from any nationality.

Amid this David Cameron assumes any contortion he can to try and keep Britain's doors closed to a meaningful number of people made refugees from the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.

He says, with a straight face, that the "first choice" of Syrian refugees is to stay in tents in Turkey or in crowded tenements in Beirut.

His government announces a jobs programme in Jordan, a water stressed country which already has some of the highest youth unemployment on Earth.

Anything to keep potential Ukip voters onside by not providing commensurate assistance to people caught up in the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War.

According to Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to ask for asylum. If it is everyone's right to ask for asylum, it is incumbent on our government to allow asylum-seekers to ask for that help.

The arms-length attitude of our government to the humanitarian fallout from the Syrian civil war, shirks our responsibility to uphold universal rights.

Letting in a few hundred refugees here and a few hundred there when he needs to appear politically magnanimous, while otherwise doing everything he can to keep refugees out of Europe and "in the region", is the height of cynicism.

Britain needs to work with Europe to help provide opportunity for these people to rebuild their lives by contributing to our societies and economies.

Simply throwing money at the region is not a sustainable solution to the problem.

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