Holocaust Museum Wades into Syria Debate with Calls to Help Aleppo

(Foreign Policy) -

Taking on a more activist role in response to the growing death toll in eastern Aleppo, the United States Holocaust Museum is using a new video filmed inside the besieged city to bolster its calls for the international community to take immediate steps to protect civilians from mass atrocities there.

Though the museum, a federally funded organization, generally avoids taking policy positions, the video features distressed Syrians and a Syrian-American aid worker calling for the creation of a no-fly zone or humanitarian corridor, proposals that President Barack Obama has rejected for years.

“This is a turning point,” Cameron Hudson, a director at the museum, told Foreign Policy. “If the town is destroyed, it could double the death count in the conflict, and be a harbinger of an even worse calamity to come.”

The video titled #SaveSyria documents recent atrocities faced by Syrians in Aleppo, which is under intense bombardment by Damascus after a surprise advance by rebels last weekend.

The central characters are Syrian-American doctors who narrate their struggles to save the grievously wounded. The film also contains harrowing scenes from the frontlines there, including a massive barrel bomb explosion and footage showing a child who was killed by flying shrapnel.

“What can the international community do?” Dr. Mohammed Sahloul, the former president of the Syrian American Medical Society, said during an on camera interview in the film. “No fly-zones or safe zones, and also maintaining access to areas under siege.”