A former Lisburn councillor who now works for an international aid agency has recently returned from a trip to Syria and has spoken about the ongoing crisis there.
David Adams was in Syria during the chemical attack and has returned again to offer aid to the Syrians. He is currently based at the Syrian/Turkey border.
David was with the Ulster Democratic Party politician but then left party politics and now works for the international aid agency Goal that is helping 120,000 people in Syria.
He told the Star, “Try telling the people of Syria that a ‘red line’ was crossed when chemical weapons were used to kill hundreds of civilians in two suburbs of Damascus. They’ll tell you the West must be engaging in some kind of sick joke at their expense.
“You see, they can’t quite understand why everyone is suddenly becoming so agitated after standing by and doing nothing for over two years while in excess of 100,000 Syrians were killed by rockets, bombs, gunfire, and grenades.
“As one Syrian woman put it to me, as news of the chemical attack in Damascus and the West’s reaction to it began filtering through to the part of Northern Syria that I was visiting, “So it’s okay for the regime to destroy our homes, and butcher us in our tens of thousands, as long as they do it with the gun and the bomb?” Every Syrian I spoke to reacted similarly.
“And what right-thinking person could disagree with their logic?”
He continued, “I was in Northern Syria on one of my frequent visits to GOAL’s programmes there. GOAL is one of the few humanitarian agencies working inside the country, and we see at first hand the scale of the suffering of ordinary people. Much is made of the plight of those who have flocked to refugee camps in neighbouring countries, and rightly so, but it must be said that those who manage to escape the country are the lucky ones.
“At least they now are safe, and have proper shelter and access to food, water and medicines - which is more than can be said for those that are left behind.
“There are 4.25 million internal refugees in Syria living in schools, mosques, deserted buildings or out in the open. They have no electricity, little water and food, and no medicines. More than half of these - 2.5 million - are children. Ayoub and his family are typical examples. They, along with 30 other people, are living under a clump of trees, struggling to stay alive in daily temperatures of 40C,” explained David.