Syria: PAX, our member organisation in the Netherlands, releases statement saying "Protect civilians in Syria"
16/4/18 - The military strikes by the US, France and the UK against targets in Syria on Saturday did little to help protect Syrian civilians.
What is needed in Syria is a true commitment and strategy to protect Syrian civilians from the Assad regime’s campaign of war crimes and crimes against humanity and to come up with a common response to the crisis in Syria. It is high time to put the protection of civilians first.
The strikes targeted chemical production facilities in Syria following the 7 April chemical attack on Douma in Eastern Ghouta which killed at least 43 people and affected around 500 people. Saturday’s reaction was limited in scope and measures were taken to limit the risk of escalation of the conflict between international actors involved in the conflict in Syria.
Restoring international norms?
Because of the stalemate in the UN Security Council, the US, France and the UK claimed they had to act to restore international norms that prohibit the use of chemical weapons. The air strikes are however expected to have very little impact on that, given their one-time character and the lack of a follow up strategy. The self-proclaimed aim of restoring international norms is undermined by the fact that the coalition of 3 failed to take sufficient steps to legitimise their attack. They did not wait for the results of the OPCW mission that just arrived to Damascus, nor did they support efforts to install an investigation into attribution of chemical attacks initiated by the UN Secretary General. Their credibility is further undermined by their own double standards in the region. Only 2 weeks ago the US vetoed an impartial United Nations’ investigation into excessive violence in Gaza. And their complicity with war crimes in Yemen further undermine their credibility...