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Bomb devastation Aleppo, Syria

A bombed out car can be seen through the devastation on the streets of Aleppo, Syria in October 2012. Image: VOA reporter Scott Bobb

(WNN) New York, New York, UNITED STATES, AMERICAS: Speaking out today against the U.S. government’s decision to send military arms support to Syrian opposition forces, MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization with an office in New York city, spoke out today to oppose what the U.S. president Barack Obama has coined in new efforts by the U.S. to switch policy in order to “change the calculus” in the region.

“There is no question about the brutality of Assad’s regime,” outlined Ms. Yifat Susskind, Executive Director of MADRE.

“Its repression was exactly what drove Syrians to rise up in peaceful protests two years ago. First, these nonviolent organizers were sidelined by the armed opposition. Now, they are being sidelined again by President Obama, in favor of further militarizing a conflict that ultimately has no military solution,” continued Susskind.

92,901 people are now part of UN estimated death casualties inside Syria as the conflict crisis has been rising over the last 15 months. More than 5,000 deaths have been reported each month since last July says the UN.

USAID is currently citing 6.8 million people still in need of humanitarian assistance as 4.2 million have been internally displaced and 1.6 million people have fled the region to neighboring countries.

“…the true number of those killed is potentially much higher,”said Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday in a recent statement released from UN Geneva.

Arming Syrian rebels, instead of getting all parties to sit at the table to talk peace, will contribute to more civilian deaths in the region, a recent urgent report made at the United Nations Geneva revealed.

“It is an illusion that more weapons will keep the balance between the two parties. No one is winning. And no one will not win this war. More weapons will only lead to more civilians dead and wounded. The States must bear in mind that transfer of arms, of ammunition, to both sides should not occur when their is a clear risk that these arms will be used to commit serious violations of international law,” outlined the Chairperson for the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, Paulo Pinheiro.

Noting that Syria is already awash in weapons that will be circulating in the area for years to come, MADRE, as a humanitarian agency concerned with increased dangers to families in the region, feels that funneling more arms to the opposition will only intensify the war and further diminish chances of a democratic outcome for Syria.

“The Obama Administration should be offering political and diplomatic support to people who share a vision rooted in human rights. This will mean creating space for Syrians to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the conflict, prioritizing women’s participation,” says Susskind, Director for MADRE.

As conflict intensifies, the UN Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) is also now calling on a complete cease-fire in the city of Homs in efforts to protect civilians from rising military violence. Receiving on-the-ground reports that large number of civilians, including women and children, are now trapped inside the city the UN Mission in Syria is trying to mediate safe civilian evacuation.

“UNSMIS calls on all sides to stop the killing and human rights abuses, to ensure the protection of civilians and to respect international law,” said Sausan Ghosheh spokeswoman for the United Nations Mission in Syria.

While opposition forces are hardening to continued violence in the region, the Syrian government forces are also stepping up their efforts using aerial assaults, including cluster bombs and thermobaric attacks.

Last April 2013 Human Rights Watch released a detailed report on Syria’s Air Force use of aerial military force in their report called, “Death from the Skies: Deliberate and Indiscriminate Air Strikes on Civilians.”

“Urgent concern for the millions of Syrians caught in the crisis should motivate us to support a peaceful resolution. But how do we ensure that public compassion isn’t hijacked in the service of military intervention that seeks to entrench U.S. power in the region without real regard for the rights and well-being of most Syrians?,” cautions MADRE in an online Q&A covering current conditions with the war in Syria.


Today (June 14, 2013) on Amy Goodman’s TV & radio release on Democracy Now!, she joins with veteran foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn of The Independent news to discuss the Obama administration’s decision to begin directly arming Syrian rebels after concluding the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons. “There must be some doubts about this,” Cockburn says, adding that it “reminds me of what they were saying in 2002 and 2003 about Saddam [Hussein]’s weapons of mass destruction. Cockburn warns U.S. involvement could escalate regional conflicts that could “go on for years,” and critiques the media’s lack of skepticism about White House claims.


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