Since the Syrian people joined the Arab Uprisings almost 15 months ago, more than 54 000 of them have been made refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan; a total of 15 600 have been killed, of which 1162 are children, 1085 are women and 1293 are soldiers; 212 000 protestors are currently incarcerated, 621 of whom have been killed through torture; and over 65 000 people are missing.
The Syrian regime is wholly responsible for these atrocities. President Bashar Assad has shown absolutely no interest in Kofi Annan’s UN -led mission. Assad has launched a military campaign against his own people, behind the smokescreen of claims that he is fighting Al-Qaeda and armed terrorist groups. Such statements are reminiscent of the final days of the Gaddafi regime.
Maajid Nawaz, Chairman and Co-founder of Quilliam, says:
“Events in Syria are fast resembling Balkan style massacres, with all the long-term implications this brings. After the Houla massacre, the world must do all it can to end the violence before an entire Syrian generation is raised with nothing but disdain for the international community.”
Until now the international community has heavily depended on Kofi Annan’s plan for Syria, but Russia and China’s refusal to support this plan has rendered it worthless, thus allowing the Assad regime to disrespect it entirely. Though we acknowledge the regional tensions, especially those involving Iran, there is a moral and strategic responsibility to prevent both civil and regional war.
Noman Benotman, Senior Analyst in Strategic Communications at Quilliam, says:
“The international community must intervene immediately in the escalating civil war in Syria. We have a duty to protect innocent civilians from mindless state-sponsored violence. The Responsibility to Protect doctrine provides an adequate framework for such an intervention and action is needed now. Past experience in Bosnia proves that a lack of will by international actors will lead to further mass killings.”
We at Quilliam believe the international community should begin considering optimal policies to address the Syrian crisis. We support Saudi Arabia’s efforts at the UN to establish a buffer-zone in Syria to protect the county’s population. We encourage further diplomatic, economic and legal military efforts to remove the current Syrian leadership from power.
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