September 29, 2015

Kaine Renews Call For A Syrian Humanitarian Zone

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing with international non-governmental organizations today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine called on the United States to provide additional civilian protection to help stem the European refugee crisis and reiterated his support for a humanitarian safe zone in northern Syria.

“My first visit to Turkey was at a time when there was about 750,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey in the summer of 2013 and now it’s two million. Other countries are seeing the same thing, and we’re now seeing it spread, not only through neighboring nations, but throughout Europe. … To me, it just seems like if we don’t try to create some safe area - with an additional nearly 8 million displaced people within Syria - that the crisis is going to continue and even if we wave the magic wand and we said the U.S. will take ten times the number of refugees that we’ve said that we would take, it’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the challenge that is likely to come.”

"But clearly, we're all in a position here where the existence of a UN resolution that calls for cross-border delivery of aid without the consent of the Syrian government and the stopping of barrel bombing, that that resolution, now a year and a half old, with zero enforcement of it.  I mean the impotence of that and the message that sends about the impotence of the international institutions and the unwillingness of the nations that are members of those institutions to do anything to back up their words, that's incredibly destructive, not only in this circumstance but more generally.”

Since April, Kaine has called for the establishment of humanitarian safe zones in Syria to protect civilian lives and supply lines for food, water and medical supplies. He reiterated his position during a two-day visit to Turkey, where he visited an urban refugee center and met with local NGOs providing humanitarian assistance, emergency response, and medical care to victims of the conflict in Syria. The Syrian conflict has led to the world’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.

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