Mr Wilson (4:29pm) — Over the last week more than 500 civilians in Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus have been killed through an indiscriminate and unconscionable bombing campaign by the Syrian government. The dead include more than 130 children. The 350,000 people of Eastern Ghouta are besieged. Their hospitals have been destroyed. Ambulances are hit with barrel bombs. It has been impossible for humanitarian aid groups to deliver food, water and basic medical supplies.
Some of the material coming out of Syria is very hard to take in: a father picking up the white cloth bundle of his dead child from a flatbed truck stacked with dead children; two women, a mother and a doctor, slumped weeping in the hall of a medical centre when their struggle to save a little boy came to an end. In another field hospital a woman whose leg had been amputated breastfed another person’s six-week-old baby who had lost his entire family in the bombings.
Eight years into this terrible humanitarian crisis Ghouta is the latest abomination. As of yesterday, the UN had resolved on a 30-day ceasefire, but with no start date. The delaying tactics employed by Russia with respect to that resolution and Russia’s direct involvement in the bombing campaign are shameful. I pay tribute to the unflinching work of ABC correspondents Sophie McNeill and Matt Brown, who keep drawing our attention to the war crimes occurring in Syria. It is a call on us, on all nations, to do more to protest against and punish countries that break international law, that fail in their responsibility to protect their own citizens.