Activist warns UK bombing Syria will increase refugee crisis

Eric and wife

UK's decision to bomb Syria will only worsen the humanitarian crisis on Europe's borders warns activist 

8th December 2015 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

A British expat supplying humanitarian support to refugees says Britain's decision to bomb Syria will only lead to more suffering and exacerbate Europe’s refugee crisis.                

Eric Kempson (above), a wood carver and artist dedicated to saving refugees' lives as they arrive by sea on the Island of Lesvos, Greece, also said cash paid to Turkey by EU states is forcing vulnerable people to use more dangerous routes and pay higher sums to smugglers.   

EU states collectively paid £3 billion to Turkey to deal with the current influx of refugees flooding into the country.

Some 500,000 refugees have arrived via Greece in 2015. More than 3,000 have drowned at sea, and thousands more are trapped along Europe’s borders as countries progressively seal them off. 

Kempson, along with his wife and daughter, organises a team of volunteers which patrol the Lesvos coastline saving thousands of refugees as they flee the devastating conflict.

He said: “Now that the British government has started bombing Syria, along with other European countries, many more people will be trying to come to safety, using more dangerous routes.

Abuses will get worse because of this EU deal, and we are losing a lot more people now because of it - Eric Kempson

“What we are seeing because of the EU decision is further persecution and abuse of war refugees by the Turkish coastguard on the open seas, and more deaths as people take ever more dangerous routes to safety.

“And these abuses will get worse because of this EU deal, and we are losing a lot more people now because of it.”

An estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 3 million have fled to Syria's immediate neighbours Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

Some 6.5 million are internally displaced within Syria.

Last week, three members of Positive Action in Housing, the refugee homelessness aid charity, visited Lesvos to assess the situation on the ground and to take part in the voluntary aid effort.

Robina Qureshi, PAIH director, who visited as part of the team, said: “We are very concerned about the decision of the EU to pay Turkey 3 billion Euros to stop refugees entering Europe. 

“Although the numbers coming in are less than three months ago, they are still large numbers and more people are coming in using dangerous routes, in bad weather and overnight, and that means casualties and deaths.”

9th December 2015 by Angus McKay

Time Ms Robina Qureshi, executive director of Glasgow based "charity" Positive Action in Housing was getting herself out, and staying in, such as Lesvos and getting her hands dirty instead of sitting in her centrally-heated spacious Glasgow office asking for money and enrolling others to get out to such as Lesvos and do some hands -on.