Fri 18 Oct, 2019

The Scottish Government should urgently provide support from its Humanitarian Emergency Fund for the Kurdish Red Crescent, according to Scottish Greens External Affairs Spokesperson Ross Greer MSP.

Mr Greer made the call in a letter to Ben MacPherson, Minister for International Development, today (18 Oct).

The West Scotland MSP began his letter by contextualising the current situation, “As you are aware, Turkey’s invasion of North East Syria has caused widespread destruction, killed hundreds and badly damaged key civilian infrastructure in the region. I welcome the First Minister’s words in response to Patrick Harvie on Thursday 10th, expressing opposition to the invasion and calling for a ‘strong international response’.”

Greer, who is the Co-Convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Kurdistan continued, “ It is in regard to this international response that I am writing to you with an urgent request for use of the Scottish Government’s Humanitarian Emergency Fund. I note that £100,000 was issued through the fund to SCIAF and Islamic Relief last week for aid work in the North West of Syria, where the civil war continues to rage. This is most welcome but given the circumstances which now exist in the North East, I believe there is a strong case for a similar amount to be deployed to partners on the ground in that region as well. Heyva Sor a Kurdistane (the Kurdish Red Crescent) have continued to operate in the region throughout Turkey’s assault. This is despite the targeting of hospitals and ambulances by Turkey and their proxy forces. At present Heyva Sor a Kurdistane is importing food from Northern Iraq, providing medical aid & ambulances, operating health and education centres, providing psychological support to women & children and more.”

Mr Greer concluded his letter by emphasisising the importance and urgency of his request, “ With the current ceasefire not yet being honoured by Turkish proxy forces and reports in today’s Times and Foreign Policy magazine of alleged chemical weapon use by those same proxies, I know you will agree that the situation is urgent. Support from the Scottish Government for those delivering emergency relief on the ground will not only save lives, it will send a strong signal to other countries across the world to similarly support humanitarian assistance to the region.”

Commenting, Ross Greer MSP said:

“The situation facing our Kurdish friends is dire. They have been betrayed by the US and face a Turkish onslaught which is continuing despite promises of a ceasefire. It’s clear that Turkey is attempting to ethnically cleanse the region, a move disgracefully backed by Donald Trump yesterday.

“For wealthy western countries like ourselves, who asked the Kurds to lead the campaign against ISIS on our behalf, the least we can do is make support available to those who are providing essential medical care and saving lives on the front line. That’s why I have made this request of the Scottish Government, I sincerely hope they will act urgently, and that other governments will follow.”

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