With Syrian forces massing for an attack on Idlib, the UN’s emergency coordinator has warned that this battle could be the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st Century.
This is terrifying. To put that into context, the last seven years of war in Syria is likely to have killed around half a million people so far, including more than 200,000 civilians. More than 12 million people have been forced from their homes. The possibility that this could become much worse should spur us to action.
One thing the UK could do is work with Turkey ensure safe passage for the people trapped in Idlib, numbering up to three million according to some estimates. Yesterday I put this to Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt.
The minister said the Government is working with Turkey to prepare for a possible mass movement of people. But he sidestepped my question on resettling more refugees in this country and failed to address my points on safe exit routes. Most Syrian refugees (and most refugees worldwide) are living in overstretched developing countries. We can, and should, take more people in the UK.