Following the launch of US, French and UK missile strikes on Syrian regime military targets in Syria on Saturday morning, Syrian civil society representatives are calling on the US and Europe to develop a comprehensive strategy to deter future atrocities by Assad’s forces.
“The United States, France and United Kingdom have sent an important message that Assad’s days of gassing Syrian civilians with impunity are over”, Fadel Abdul Ghany of the Syrian Network for Human Rights said. “For too long, the international community has stood on the sidelines as Assad’s forces gassed, starved, and bombed civilians. Red lines went unenforced. War crimes went undeterred. Today, we are hopeful that this shameful period of inaction ends, and a new era of civilian protection begins.”
“Without a larger strategy to end the crisis, however, today’s actions will not change Assad’s calculus – to the contrary, they could make the humanitarian situation worse”, Dr Zaher Sahloul, President of Med Global, said. “Assad and his allies will most likely escalate their attacks elsewhere, like in Idlib, where 2.5 million Syrians – half of them internally displaced – are stuck, or in Daraa and North Homs. Such escalation will exacerbate the grave humanitarian catastrophe and trigger large displacement of population and new refugee crisis. Any action therefore should be part of a broader diplomatic effort – and pressure on Russia – to bring Assad to the negotiating table, prepared to accept political transition based on Security Council resolution 2254. The US and Europe must make clear that there will be consequences if Assad continues to bomb civilians. Without those consequences, today’s strikes could prove counterproductive.”