A letter to The Guardian: We, a group of Syrian civil society organisations and actors, both men and women, from multiple sects and ethnic and minority backgrounds, write this following Russia’s recent airstrikes (Russia sends in bombers and raises stakes in Syria, 1 October). It has become eminently clear that the international community has little political will to stop the bloodshed in Syria. Indeed, the international community’s collective failure to help end the conflict created the vacuum for the de facto occupation of our country by Iran and now Russia. While the United Nations has repeatedly expressed “deep concern” and “regret” at the tremendous loss of life and the mass displacement of Syrians, the international community has done next to nothing to deter the main perpetrator of the conflict in Syria: the Assad regime.
The dire situation in Syria is no mystery. After four years of conflict, half the country has been killed, displaced or exiled. Indeed, airstrikes by the Syrian regime are the foremost driver of the Syrian refugee crisis and the leading cause of death in Syria (66% of civilian deaths by May 2015); 95% of all deaths caused by regime airstrikes are civilians – not members of Isis or armed opposition groups. While UN resolution after resolution has condemned the use of indiscriminate weapons against civilians, there has been no international action to stop regime aerial attacks. And now Russia has joined in the slaughter of Syrians with nothing more than feigned concern by the international community. [Continue reading…]