Suffolk GP left heartbroken as crisis in his Syrian homeland escalates
PUBLISHED: 11:09 04 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:09 04 September 2015
"Syria should be the most secure place in the middle east, but it's the most destructive place on earth."
They were the words of Suffolk GP Dr Fayez Ayache, from Constable Country Medical Practice East Bergholt, who left Syria to become a doctor in 1973.
He spoke to this newspaper yesterday, just hours after photographs of the bodies of two young Syrian boys found washed up on a beach in Turkey sent shockwaves around the world.
Figures provided by Suffolk Refugee Support state that 11million people – around half of Syria’s population – have been displaced or killed in the last four years.
“It just breaks my heart,” Dr Ayache said. “It’s not only the families of those two boys, not just the Arab world, everywhere should feel sorry.
“It’s a country about to be destroyed. There’s no safety, everything is dangerous, everything is expensive.
“People who live there live on the edge. The ones who are migrating are desperate. A member of my own family did that.”
One of Dr Ayache’s nephews fled Syria for Sweden earlier this year.
“For a young man who’s an accountant, who’s educated, this is desperate, risking his life and his family to get there,” said Dr Ayache.
“To see those kids yesterday, dead on the sand like pieces of wood, how could anybody justify that? The killing, there’s no end to it. Nobody knows where the next bomb is coming from.
“The people fleeing are thinking, ‘I want to survive, I can’t cope anymore’. Nobody is safe. They can’t see any light. There is no light.”
Dr Ayache said he agreed with Prime Minister David Cameron’s view that accepting refugees into the country was not enough on its own.
Dr Ayache added: “Yes, help the migrants. Help them find a home, a job, safety, but if you are going to continue that you need to stop the problem at source.
“No country has suffered what Syria is suffering.
“The destruction, the humiliation, the lack of safety. I have two daughters who adore going to see their family, but the last time we went was four years ago.
“It’s difficult to see when we will go to visit them. Two weeks ago there was a bomb just miles from where my family live.
“Nobody can justify what’s happening there.”
Martin Simmonds, of Suffolk Refugee Support, said: “We call on the UK government to play its part in sharing the burden of this global refugee crisis.
“Since it was set up last year, the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme for Syrian refugees has accepted only around 200 people.
“Hundreds of thousands of others are forced to take grave risks to find refuge. Until we establish safe routes for the most vulnerable, we will see more tragic images like the young Syrian boy on the beach.”