A call for a political solution for Syria

Military operations won’t bring lasting peace (Press Release)

The Federal Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen wants to protect the civilian population in Syria from further poison gas attacks. However there are no concrete proposals from the Federal Government or the NATO for a political solution to the Syrian conflict. Picture: Jette Carr via Flickr CC BY 2.0

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) welcomes the fact that Federal Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has announced plans to protect the civilian population in Syria from further poison gas attacks. “However, the Federal Government and NATO should agree on specific measures to further a political solution to the conflict in Syria, as this would be the only way to create lasting peace,” demanded Kamal Sido, the STP’s Middle East Consultant, in Göttingen on Tuesday. The human rights activist recalled that the military interventions in Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, or Yemen didn’t help the suffering civilian population in the long term. The people in these countries are still at the mercy of a bloody conflict.

“In the case of an international military intervention to protect the people of Syria, they must not be left to their fate once it’s over,” Sido stated. “The civilian population must not only be protected from the mass murderer Bashar al-Assad and his ally Vladimir Putin, but also from marauding Islamist gangs which are supported by the Turkish government under the despot Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”

Thus, Syrian Islamists and the Turkish military have expelled at least 80 percent of the nearly one million inhabitants of the Kurdish region of Afrin in northwestern Syria. Almost every day, there are murders, attacks, and raids on the Kurdish, Yazidi, Alawite, and Christians communities. Many of the displaced persons have been living in tent camps in a narrow strip between Afrin and Aleppo ever since the region of Afrin was occupied in March last year. “Out of consideration for the Turkish government, the refugees there receive little support from Berlin,” Sido accused the federal government. “From Erdogan’s point of view, these refugees – almost all of whom belong to a Kurdish population group – are his political opponents.” Sido has many relatives in Afrin and is in constant contact with them.

The Syrian province of Idlib, located next to Afrin, is threatened with a large-scale military conflict between the Syrian regime, Russia, and Iran on the one hand, and with Islamist rebels – mostly from Syria and Turkey – on the other. There are about 1.5 to three million people living in the region.

Headerpicture: Jette Carr via Flickr