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The New Arab

Murdered British MP's sister calls on MPs to take a break from Brexit for Idlib

Jo Cox was murdered three years ago [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 June, 2019

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Murdered British MP Jo Cox was a tireless campaigner for Syria in parliament.


The sister of deceased British MP Jo Cox has called on leading UK politicians to continue the murdered politician's legacy and act on Syria, where 1 million children are trapped in Idlib province amid a hail of bombing.

Cox was a British Labour MP who tirelessly campaigned for the UK to stop the war in Syria before she was murdered by a far-right gunman on 16 June 2016.

Half-a-million have died in Syria's war and around half the country have been made homeless, most of them due to regime bombing and shelling.

In Idlib province, which has come under intense bombardment over the past month from regime and Russian forces, the situation remains bleak for the 3 million residents trapped there.

A letter from Cox's sister, Kim Leadbeater, called on British politicians to take a break from the debate around Brexit and focus their attention on helping Syrians.

"Re: Save Idlib

To all party leaders and Conservative leadership candidates,

This Sunday, June 16th, we will be thinking of our sister, friend and colleague Jo Cox on the third anniversary of her murder," the letter begins, which was co-signed Syria campaigners MPs Alison McGovern and Tom Tugendhat.

"Jo was a passionate campaigner on humanitarian issues. The best way to honour her memory is to do what she would have done this weekend, and remember those in the greatest need of our support. One of the issues that mattered most to Jo was the humanitarian emergency in Syria. Tragically, three years after her death, the suffering of civilians continues," the letter reads.

Around 1 million children are trapped in Idlib, which is still coming under horrendous bombardment from the skies, the letter added. Over the past six weeks of bombing and shelling, 352 civilians have been killed, including 75 children, while 400,000 people have been forced to flee their homes with nowhere left to go due to the closure of the Turkish border and surrounding regime military.

"Three years ago, when Aleppo was under an unrelenting campaign of airstrikes, Jo wrote that 'it is not ethical to wish away the barrel bombs from the Syrian government when you have the capacity to stop them.' Millions in Idlib are again facing the horror of daily barrel bombs," the letter continues.

"Today we ask you the simple question Jo would be asking: If you become Prime Minister, what will you do to save the million children trapped under bombs in Idlib?"

"Jo knew the importance of the UK's role in protecting civilians in Syria, and urged that 'it is time to get Syria off the too difficult to deal with pile and to get back to basics, to see the crisis in Syria as primarily about Syria and Syrians," the writer adds.

"Since she wrote those words, tens of thousands more have been killed, hundreds of thousands have lost their homes and millions remain living under the terror of daily barrel bombs. In memory of all she worked for, we are asking you to follow her lead and give Syrians the attention and support they so urgently need."

The UK is currently looking for a new prime minister, with the ruling Conservative Party currently voting on their next leader who will take over the reins of the country.

The signatories want whoever becomes the UK's new prime minister not to forget about Syria and use the country’s influence to stop the bombing of the densely-packed opposition province.

For the rest of the British people, the letter states that they can and should campaign for the people of Idlib by putting pressure on their MPs.

"Write to your MP and demand that they do everything they can to protect those trapped in Idlib. You can use our template – it only takes 30 seconds."

You can read the letter here.

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