Nicola Sturgeon: World must not stand and watch Aleppo slaughter

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the world cannot “stand back” in the face of “slaughter and destruction” in Aleppo.

She said she supported more evacuation of the wounded, further discussion of humanitarian airdrops and a determination to prosecute any war crimes committed.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood, she said: “I think each and every one of us finds the scenes we are witnessing on our television screens nightly at the moment from Aleppo to be heartbreaking and deeply, deeply distressing.

“It’s very difficult in these circumstances for any of us to say exactly what can and should be done to resolve the situation, but we do know that the world cannot, on this occasion, as it has done so often in the past, continue to stand back while the scenes of slaughter and destruction happen before our very eyes.”

READ MORE: Residents of Aleppo sink into ‘hell’ as ceasefire fails

Scottish Labour MSP Anas Sarwar raised the issue in a moving speech, saying “humanity is dying before our eyes and the world looks on helpless”.

Omran, a four-year-old Syrian boy covered in dust and blood, in an ambulance after being rescued from the rubble of a building hit by an air strike in  Aleppo. Picture: Getty Images

Omran, a four-year-old Syrian boy covered in dust and blood, in an ambulance after being rescued from the rubble of a building hit by an air strike in Aleppo. Picture: Getty Images

He said: “Looking at the scenes from Aleppo, I feel angry, broken, helpless and lost.

“Angry that this can happen in our world, broken because I can only imagine if that was my children staying awake at night because of the sound of gunfire and explosions, or if it were my boys whose only hope in life was to stay alive.

READ MORE: Leader comment: Aleppo victory means Assad and Russia have won

“Helpless because I don’t know what I or anybody else in this chamber can do to actually make a meaningful difference and lost because every option I think of can only mean more bloodshed and violence. We need to do something but I honestly don’t know what the something is.

but we do know that the world cannot..continue to stand back while the scenes of slaughter and destruction happen before our very eyes.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

“I know warm words won’t save a single life in Aleppo but I hope all of us in this chamber can encourage people across Scotland to take part in the humanitarian response in Syria, and also send a strong message of solidarity, humanity and peace to every man, woman and child struggling in Aleppo.”