“We do not need tears or sympathy or even prayers, we need your action.”
That was the simple plea from 15 doctors in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo to President Obama. They are some of the last remaining doctors in a city which has seen dozens of attacks on its hospitals in the past month alone. Their words are a call to our President to do something to help, and the question is will we echo them or ignore them.
There’s no mistaking the horrors of the Syrian civil war. We know the stories of brutal atrocities and we’ve watched as the death toll climbed into the hundreds of thousands. Now, Syria’s second largest city is on the verge of one of the greatest humanitarian disasters yet, and its doctors are asking for our help.
We know that President Obama cannot stop this war by himself, nor can America somehow bomb its way to peace in Syria. Yet, there is more that we can – and must – do to answer these brave Syrian doctors’ call. We know the President has seen this open letter and is debating how to respond right now. Let’s show him that he has our back to go big and push hard, right now, for lifesaving, humanitarian relief to the besieged citizens of Aleppo and other Syrian cities.
The call for help from these brave Syrian doctors is one we can’t ignore. In their open letter to President Obama, the doctors describe their brutal struggle for life amidst the carnage in Syria. Yet those horrors are set to worsen if something is not done right now to ensure humanitarian access to Syria’s second largest city.
The crisis in Aleppo is the result of years of fighting, and we categorically reject any call that more fighting, including an American imposed no-fly zone, will somehow save the city. Yet we can do more, a lot more, to save Aleppo. Reports have indicated that the US and Russia have been in talks about the possibility of coordinating their bombing in Syria, and just this week, Turkey and Russia held talks along similar lines. It is clear that the world’s powers are talking about Syria, but instead of figuring out a better way to bomb, we must demand they immediately come together on a lasting and sustainable way to deliver food and medical supplies to all Syrians.
The United Nations and aid agencies are ready and capable of providing lifesaving aid to citizens in Aleppo. What they need is the time to do so, and that’s why they’ve asked for all parties to agree to 48 hour ceasefires to allow for humanitarian access. The international community has been successful at getting such access before, but this time it will require a strong push from the US, and that’s where we come in!
Too often we allow violence in far off places to seem impossible to solve or someone else’s problem. But 15 brave doctors from Aleppo have reminded us that we have a role to play in fighting for peace everywhere, including Syria. Let’s show them we heard their plea and stand with them in calling for action to #SaveAleppo!