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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Cumbrian MP expects to find horror in Middle East refugee camps

A Cumbrian politician says he expects to find horror when he visits Middle East refugee camps.

Syria photo
An injured anti-Assad group member is stretchered away after an attack in Aleppo, Syria

Sir Tony Cunningham will be part of a fact-finding mission to help those displaced by the crisis in trouble-torn Syria this spring.

And he is in no doubt about the scenes he’s likely to witnesses among those who have fled to places including Jordan and Lebanon.

The Workington MP said: “I’m expecting to find horror – people who have been abused, been tortured, fled their homes, don’t know how to make ends meet and removed from their families.

“I want to see for myself what the situation is so I can report back and tell people what I’ve seen and hopefully spur people into doing everything they can to help in what’s a horrific situation.”

Sir Tony is a member of parliament’s international development committee.

He spoke about his upcoming assignment as the Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK would take in some of those left most vulnerable by the conflict in Syria, pledging the country would play the “right role”.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions at Westminster this week, Mr Cameron said the UK was fulfilling its "moral obligations to the people of Syria”.

The conflict is thought to have led to about two million people becoming refugees.

Mr Cunningham says the UK has a proud history of helping people of helping people left the most vulnerable from troublespots around the world.

Refugees from the Kosovo conflict made their home on in the south of Cumbria after fleeing their homeland in the 1990s.

And Mr Cunningham says he’s sure Syrians who may find themselves here would be welcome.

“But we’re only talking about somewhere between 300 and 1,000, but if you spread that throughout the world we should be able to deal with the most vulnerable,” he added.

“These are mainly children. Children with horrific stories to tell. Children who have been maimed, disabled and lost their parents. I think people in Cumbria would expect the Government to do what it can to help in this situation.”

A Syrian government delegation and the Western-backed opposition will meet together today in Geneva “in the same room”, UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi says.

The announcement came last night after three days of discussions between two sides that have not come face to face for talks in three years of fighting.

Mr Brahimi met separately with the two sides, hoping to broker peace in the civil war that has left 130,000 people dead.

Earlier, the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said the government delegation would leave tomorrow if “serious talks” did not start.

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