French MPs in Turkey aiming to cross border to Aleppo
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
French MPs Cecile Duflot is seen in file photo in France - AFPA three-member delegation from the French Parliament, aiming to cross the border into Syria to reach Aleppo in order to call for an immediate cease-fire in the city and for humanitarian aid to civilians, arrived in Turkey on Dec. 12.
MPs Cécile Duflot, Hervé Mariton, Patrick Mennucci, along with Jacques Boutault, the mayor of Paris’ 2nd district, said they were waiting in a southern Turkish province as of Dec. 12.
The MPs told Agence France-Presse that “they were stuck in Kilis,” a Turkish city bordering Syria.
They said they had been blocked by the Turkish authorities, which had cited security concerns on crossing the border.
The lawmakers are planning to head to Aleppo in order to raise awareness for a safe evacuation of civilians from Aleppo, which has been the site of heavy clashes for months.
Meanwhile, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News that the delegation was set to visit a refugee camp in Nizip, a town located in the southern province of Gaziantep, on Dec. 13.
The delegation is visiting the region as individual lawmakers, not officially on behalf of the French Parliament.
According to a statement the delegation had issued before their departure to Turkey, they insisted that Europe “must stand strong against the massacres committed by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russia.”
The French delegation wants to express solidarity with the people of Aleppo who feel abandoned by the international community, according to the delegation’s media coordinator.
Tens of thousands of civilians have fled to government-held western Aleppo after al-Assad’s regime began its latest offensive in mid-November, but many more people remain trapped in the rebel stronghold.
More than 300 civilians have been killed in the Syrian government’s assault on east Aleppo since Nov. 15, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.