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Syria: a forgotten conflict, despite large scale deaths, disappearances and displacement

13 февруари 2024 12:59, Людмила Калъпчиева
Излъчване: Туида Нюз преди 2 месеца, брой четения: 180
European Parliament

Half a million civilians dead and more than 100 000 disappeared

The regime is letting Iran and Russia use Syria’s resources at the expense of its people

15.3 million Syrians urgently need humanitarian assistance

The Committee on Foreign Affairs holds the regime in Damascus personally responsible for the destruction of the country and the displacement of the majority of the population.

 

In a recommendation adopted by the Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, MEPs call on the EU to strongly support Syria’s continued democratic aspirations, despite the ongoing total repression by the regime in Damascus that began with the peaceful protests in 2011.

 

Along with ISIS and other armed and terrorist groups, MEPs hold the regime personally responsible for the death of half a million civilians, the destruction of the country, the displacement of the majority of the population and the torture and forced disappearance of more than 100 000 people. They point to the use of chemical weapons against civilians and the systematic destruction of any democratic and peaceful opposition in the country.

 

In the draft text, adopted by 46 votes in favour, 5 against and 5 abstentions, MEPs also underline the role of Iran and Russia, which provide decisive military and financial assistance to the Syrian regime. MEPs denounce that the regime grants contracts to these two countries that allow them to access Syria’s resources at the expense of its people.

 

No normalisation of relations with the regime in Damascus

 

The Committee on Foreign Affairs opposes any normalisation of relations with the Assad regime if they do not properly implement the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015), including by releasing political prisoners, informing the families of the victims about the fate of the missing persons and victims of enforced disappearance, and stopping any attacks and obstacles to humanitarian aid.

 

MEPs also stress that the Syrian regime, despite assurances given to the League of Arab states, has not given any indication that it wants to combat drugs trafficking. They condemn the stranglehold of the Assad family and its allies, including Hezbollah, on the drug Captagon, and note that the brother of Bashar Al-Assad, Maher al-Assad, commands the army unit responsible for facilitating the drug’s production.

 

Fight against impunity in Syria

 

Stressing that the fight against impunity in Syria is a prerequisite to any future resolution of the ongoing crisis, as well as a moral and political imperative for Europe and the international community, MEPs support attempts to bring the leadership of the Syrian regime to justice. They welcome an international arrest warrant for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his inner circle issued by France for their complicity in crimes against humanity over chemical attacks in 2013.

 

International community should increase humanitarian assistance to displaced Syrians

 

MEPs urge the international community to increase urgently its humanitarian assistance to the 15.3 million Syrians who depend on it on a daily basis. Pointing out that the EU is the biggest contributor in this regard, MEPs welcome the continued efforts of Lebanon, Jordan, Türkiye and Iraq to host six million refugees while facing difficult economic conditions. They also remind these countries of their obligation to adhere to international law and insist Syria is not a safe country, neither in whole nor in part, and that Syrian nationals can therefore not return safely.

 

Quote

 

The rapporteur, Nathalie Loiseau (Renew, France) said: “Syria remains the land of a forgotten conflict in the Middle East, despite half a million deaths and millions of refugees. Assad’s bloody dictatorship survives only through Russia and Iran’s support. Terrorist cells are still active. There cannot be peace without justice, a return of refugees without a political settlement and a normalisation of EU relations with Damascus without significant changes”.

 

Next steps

 

The recommendation will now be submitted to a vote in the European Parliament as a whole at one of the next plenary sessions.