'Churches demand action on Aleppo'
The Baptist Union of Great Britain has joined the Church in Wales, the Church of Scotland, Quakers in Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church to release a statement calling upon the Syrian and Russian Governments and other forces to stop their bombardment of Aleppo.
Baptist Union General Secretary the Revd Lynn Green has joined leaders from the five churches, which together represent more than one million people in the UK, in signing the statement (below). The statement condemns the attacks on the civilians of Aleppo, but also highlights the failure of the international community to protect the civilians.
'We claim no simple solution to a complex political reality,' the statement concludes, 'but offer the simple message of our faith: that every life is valued by God and that the slaughter must end now.'
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has stated that in the two weeks following the collapse of the ceasefire, 376 people have been killed, one third of whom were children, and a further 1266 were wounded.
The international humanitarian organisation Medicines Sans Frontieres said recently that there have been 23 recorded attacks on Aleppo’s eight hospitals since the end of July. Seeking medical care has become a danger in itself.
The statement in full
The destruction of Aleppo must stop.
We are appalled by the attacks on civilians by the Syrian Government, Russian and other forces. Life is a gift of God. The targeting and killing of civilians can never be passed off merely as a consequence of war. Aerial strikes on homes, hospitals and aid convoys are never acceptable, under any circumstances.
The responsibility for such attacks lies first and foremost with those who have carried them out. But the frequency of such attacks in Syria also underlines a failure on the part of the international community to uphold long-established principles concerning the immunity of civilians in conflict. Member states of the United Nations should seek to hold to account the parties responsible for indiscriminate attacks on men, women, children, hospitals, humanitarian and rescue workers, which could be construed as war crimes.
The world cries out for an end to the death and destruction in Syria that daily adds to the largest flight of refugees since the Second World War. We join with our brothers and sisters of other churches and other faiths in praying for the people of Syria. We claim no simple solution to a complex political reality but offer the simple message of our faith: that every life is valued by God and that the slaughter must end now.
The signatories to the statement are:
The General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain – the Revd Lynn Green.
The President of the Methodist Church – the Revd Dr Roger Walton.
The General Secretary of the United Reformed Church - the Revd John Proctor.
The Moderator for the Church of Scotland - the Right Revd Dr Russell Bar.
Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain - Paul Parker
The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon – the Right Revd John Davies.
Picture: Freedom House / Flickr / Creative Commons (cropped to remove the words from the original)