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MP Rushanara Ali urges help in Commons for family trapped in Syria

PUBLISHED: 15:02 11 January 2013 | UPDATED: 16:09 11 January 2013

MP Rushanara Ali during Commons Question Time

MP Rushanara Ali during Commons Question Time

Rushanara Ali's office

The family of a man living in London’s East End is trapped in Damascus amid the Syrian civil war, MPs have heard.

But there’s nothing Britain can do to rescue the family, the Foreign Secretary has told Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali.

“I have a constituent whose wife and children are stuck in Damascus and unable to get out due to the dangers,” she told the Commons yesterday (Thurs).

“What help can the Foreign Office give to get them out?

“It raises the wider question of humanitarian access and medical aid to people in Syria who are stuck in the conflict.”

But Foreign Secretary William Hague stressed that Britain’s ability to help on the ground “is now virtually non-existent”—half the four-million people there are in desperate need who cannot be reached with humanitarian or medical assistance.

He told MPs: “There is nothing directly that we can do to change that, other than work with the agencies and the National Coalition and to call on the regime to allow such access.

“It is about a year-and-a-half ago since we asked all British nationals to leave Syria.”

He promised Rushanara Ali to look at the specific case of the man’s family and was appealing to both sides in the conflict to allow humanitarian access.

Britain’s embassy in Damascus had to be closed for safety a long time ago, Hague pointed out. The Hungarians took over consular responsibilities, but have also now had to close down.


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