Joan Ryan MP has called on the UK Government to support political and humanitarian efforts to protect Kurds and other civilians affected by the fight against ISIL/Daesh.
I have written to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Rt. Hon Boris Johnson MP, regarding the military campaign against ISIL/Daesh in Syria and Iraq, and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region. You can read my letter by clicking here.
I welcome the news that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have liberated the city of Manbij from ISIL/Daesh. I pay tribute to the SDF - predominantly made up of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces - who have shown bravery, courage and resilience in the face of this appalling terrorist group.
They have achieved an important military victory, cutting off ISIL/Daesh’s supply lines to its stronghold in the city of Raqqa and hindering their ability to recruit foreign fighters.
Whilst this battle has been won, the war against ISIL/Daesh is far from over. Civilians are still paying a heavy price in the ongoing conflict. More than 400 civilians died, and tens of thousands of people have been driven from their homes, over the past couple of months in the city of Manbij alone.
A fresh offensive has also been launched to retake Mosul. As Iraq's second largest city and ISIL/Daesh’s last remaining urban stronghold in the country, Mosul’s recapture would be a major blow against the terrorist group in Iraq.
The United Nations has warned that the attempt to liberate Mosul could spark “the largest and most sensitive humanitarian crisis in the world in 2016”, as the final battle could displace up to one million people from their homes.
I remain concerned about the safety of Kurdish citizens in the region, many of whom have for so long been on the frontline in the fight against ISIL/Daesh.
I believe the UK Government must continue to do all it can to support stabilisation and protect civilians who are still trapped in the conflict zones. The government must continue to press for aid deliveries to be made by truck convoy and helicopter, if humanitarian access does not significantly and speedily improve in these cities.