THE plight of refugees from the Syrian conflict has been highlighted by a local MP.
Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney has just returned from a fact-finding mission to Iraq and saw at first-hand the terrors of the war.
He visited refugee camps housing tens of thousands of people who have fled across the border from Syria and has now called for more action to end the conflict.
Mr McCartney – who served in Iraq while in the RAF – said: “The violence in Syria must end and I’m calling for a No Fly Zone to stop aerial attacks on civilians.
“I have deep concerns about arming rebels and would struggle to support that but having been part of a No Fly Zone while serving in the RAF, I think that would be a measured military step in reducing the atrocities that we are seeing every day now.
“I have met Kurds in Huddersfield and I hope their homeland can soon be safe enough for them to return.”
He spent last weekend in the Kurdistan Region of Northern Iraq, as part of a Parliamentary delegation invited by the Kurdistan Regional Government.
As an RAF Officer, Mr McCartney served on Operation Warden, the No Fly Zone over Northern Iraq in the 1990s, and was honoured to return to the region 18 years on.
He said: “Whilst Baghdad has major security issues the city of Erbil and the Kurdistan region are peaceful.
“This secular region sees Christians, Jews and Muslims living side by side.
“Over two million tourists visited the area last year.
“I spent an emotional day at the Domiz refugee camp near the Iraqi/Syrian border.
“Some 130,000 Syrian Kurds have fled the fighting in Syria and they are living in terrible conditions.
“I spoke with many refugees including children who are continuing to be educated in specially constructed schools”.
Yesterday the bitter war continued to rage across large parts of Syria.
President Bashar Assad’s army is now in full control of the embattled border town of Qusair where fighting raged with rebels for nearly three weeks, Syrian state TV said.
It said regime troops “restored security and peace” after successfully dismantling the “terrorist networks” operating in the town over the last few days.
There have also been concerns from the United Nations this week that Syria has been using chemical weapons in the conflict.