Friday March 13, 2015

Calling on world leaders to turn the lights back on in Syria

Eighty-three percent of all the lights in Syria have gone out since the start of the conflict there, a global coalition of humanitarian and human rights organisations has revealed ahead of the fourth anniversary on March 15.

 

Analysing satellite images, scientists based at Wuhan University in China, in co-operation with the #withSyria coalition of 130 non-governmental organisations, have shown that the number of lights visible over Syria at night has fallen by 83% since March 2011.

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“Four years since this crisis began, Syria’s people have been plunged into the dark: destitute, fearful, and grieving for the friends they have lost and the country they once knew,” said David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. “Four years since the crisis began, there is at present very little light in this tunnel. Over two hundred thousand people have been killed and a staggering eleven million have been forced to flee their homes. Syrians deserve much better from the international community – it is past time to show that we have not given up and will work with them to turn the lights back on.”

 

“Satellite imagery is the most objective source of data showing the devastation of Syria on a national scale,” said Dr Xi Li, lead researcher on the project. “Taken from 500 miles above the earth, these images help us understand the suffering and fear experienced by ordinary Syrians every day, as their country is destroyed around them. In the worst-affected areas, like Aleppo, a staggering 97% of the lights have gone out. The exceptions are the provinces of Damascus and Quneitra, near the Israeli border, where the decline in light has been 35% and 47% respectively.”

 

The #withSyria coalition has released a hard-hitting film and launched a global petition at withsyria.com that calls on world leaders to ‘turn the lights back on in Syria’ by  boosting the humanitarian response both for those inside Syria and refugees, including through increased resettlement and insisting that all parties put an end to attacks on civilians and stop blocking aid.

 

Dr. Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide says:

“The UK government has shown great leadership, in funding the humanitarian response to the Syria crisis so generously, and encouraging others to do the same. The UK should be at the forefront of the search for a political solution too. While we applaud Britain’s generous aid contribution to the crisis, it is clear that aid alone is not enough. After four years of conflict, more than 3 million Syrians have fled their homes to neighbouring countries, which are struggling to cope with the influx of refugees. We cannot continue to ask of Syria’s neighbours what we are not doing ourselves. The UK can accept more refugees through resettlement and other programmes” 

 

Join us in calling for greater support for Syrians by signing a petition here. Call on World leaders to turn the lights back on in Syria.

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