The Syrian exile Jeremy Corbyn quoted didn't only say 'don't drop bombs on Isis'

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Thursday 03 December 2015 11:10

During his address to the House of Commons on Wednesday, in which he implored MPs to vote against air strikes, Jeremy Corbyn quoted a member of his constituency who has family in Syria.

Yesterday I was sent this message from a Syrian constituent of mine. 'I'm a Syrian from Manbij city, which is now controlled by Isil', he writes. 'Members of my family still live there and Isil didn't kill them. My question to David Cameron is: 'Can you guarantee the safety of my family when your air forces bomb my city?'

  • Jeremy Corbyn

The constituent he quoted is Abdelaziz Almashi, who lives in London and set up the Syria Solidarity Movement.

While Corbyn quoted a part of the message Mr Almashi sent to MPs, his overall sentiment was much more complex than a simple plea to not drop bombs.

This message was sent to all MPs today. A big thank you to the Syria Campaign team.I’m Abdelaziz Almashi – my story...

Posted by Abdulaziz Almashi on Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Re-posting his message to Facebook on Wednesday night, Mr Almashi explained that Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies are making life in Syria just as dangerous as Isis are, if not more.

He explained that in order to end the war in Syria, Western powers must support the Syrian people in their fight against Isis but also in their struggle against the repressive regime.

Here is his message in full:

This message was sent to all MPs today. A big thank you to the Syria Campaign team.

I’m Abdelaziz Almashi – my story was quoted in Jeremy Corbyn’s speech today. I am a Syrian living in the UK but my family is still living in Isis-held territory in Syria. I, as many other Syrians do, urge all MPs to vote against David Cameron’s proposal. Airstrikes will cause the death of civilians and make Isis stronger. But not bombing Raqqa isn’t enough. We must take positive action.

In order to defeat Isis, the UK must protect the Syrian civilians and rebels from indiscriminate aerial attacks. These are the people who are fighting the extremists on the ground.

We have driven Isis out of our towns before, but it is becoming impossible to do while we are facing the relentless bombardment of the Assad regime and Russia. The territory Isis controls is crucial to their growth, their capture of resources and their ability to conduct terrorist attacks abroad. We need help in order to keep them out of our towns.

The Syrian regime has killed 7 times more civilians than Isis this year. No, it is not as Julian Lewis says, that Assad is the lesser of two evils. Assad and Russian airstrikes have been focused on our hospitals and schools and homes, and much less so on Isis assets. As their bombardments continue, our towns are weakened. Isis comes in to fill the void, and amidst economic collapse, provides services and the promise of steady salaries, beefing up their recruitment and their hold on the land.

Make no mistake however, Syrians are resisting. Just last week in my own hometown of Manbij, women were kidnapped, an activist was tortured to death, and protesters were shot for trying to keep Isis out.

These people deserve your support – and supporting them is the only way to defeat Isis.

— Abdulaziz Almashi. Co-Founder, Syria Solidarity Movement

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