Humanitarian aid budget must be protected, says Plaid Cymru

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Plaid Cymru has urged the UK Government to commit to protecting the humanitarian aid budget, as further atrocities by pro-Assad forces in Aleppo are reported by the United Nations.

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster group leader, Hywel Williams, spoke in an urgent debate on Aleppo and accused the UK of failing the people of Syria. He said that “the one redeeming aspect of our policy is our commitment to material aid” and urged the Government against scaling it back.

The United Nations has reported that pro-Syrian government forces have been entering homes in eastern Aleppo and killing those inside, including women and children. It claims that it has “reliable evidence” that 82 people have been shot on sight.

Speaking in the debate, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster group leader, Hywel Williams, said:

“The heart-rending messages from the opposition areas of Aleppo cry out for action. People fearing retribution on all – men women and children alike; reports of extrajudicial killings of relatives of Free Syrian Army rebels by pro-regime forces; mass detentions and arrests.

“The imperative for international action is stronger than ever.

“With hindsight we can see that when the peaceful democracy movement was ignored by the international community it was inevitable that others, wedded neither to peace nor democracy would step in. The regime’s response was entirely predictable given al Assad senior’s vicious and murderous responses to previous uprisings.

“The White Helmets now report that tens of thousands are trapped in Aleppo and indiscriminate attacks, both ground and air continue with ever greater ferocity, following on from the previous inhuman attacks on the very weakest points – hospitals, water and food supplies and aid convoys.

“We must ensure a safe passage for civilians out of Aleppo and work towards an immediate ceasefire by Assad and his allies.

“We have failed the people of Syria so far. The one redeeming aspect of our policy is our commitment to material aid and now is not the time to be cutting it.

“I fear the current inhuman conflict is sowing the seeds of further horrors, in Syria, the middle east and in western Europe. Irrespective of the humanitarian argument, it is very much in our own interests that we take action on the side of humanitarianism, democracy and eventual peace. For the sake of our fellow humans.”

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