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Slaughter in Aleppo 'will forever be a symbol of international shame'

Published 02/08/2016

Smoke rises over Aleppo, Syria (AP)
Smoke rises over Aleppo, Syria (AP)

Aleppo in Syria is the "new Srebrenica" and will "forever be a symbol of international shame", a former international development secretary has said.

Tory MP Andrew Mitchell also accused the international community of having stood by while "appalling slaughter" takes place in the country's second largest city.

The United Nations believes between 250,000 and 275,000 people are trapped in besieged areas of Aleppo as it attempts to ensure aid reaches those in need.

Syrian government forces have tightened their siege of rebel-held sections in recent weeks, prompting a rebel attack aimed at breaking it.

Mr Mitchell, a supporter of creating humanitarian protection zones in Syria, said ground troops should be thought about but "probably not ours and probably not Western troops".

He suggested troops within the region could provide protection to civilians.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Mitchell said : "What has to happen is there has to be safe corridors out of Aleppo.

"They must be run by the United Nations... and we must have an end to the bombing."

He went on: "Only the United Nations can symbolise the authority of the international community in this position. Some progress has been made, Britain has shown tremendous leadership on the United Nations and also in the international Syria support group.

"But p rogress is terribly slow and in the face of all this Aleppo is now the new Srebrenica. That is what the UN is saying.

"One of the great world cities of a population of 2.3 million, 2 million people have now fled and the 300,000 people left in Aleppo are in quite appalling danger."

The Srebrenica massacre in 1995 resulted in Bosnian Serb forces killing some 8,000 Muslim men in a designated United Nations safe area.

Asked if the comparison with Srebrenica is what he believes is happening in Aleppo, Mr Mitchell replied: "Yes I do.

"I think that we are seeing there a slaughter that will forever be a symbol of international shame.

Aleppo will join the list of Srebrenica, what happened in Rwanda only 20 years ago - a ll of that will stand in the history of international shame and Aleppo joins that list.

"The international community has been completely paralysed in trying to do something about it.

"Russian cynical self-interest, considerable degree of indifference from America, Europe convulsed by its own issues and problems - the international community has effectively stood by while this appalling slaughter has taken place."

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