Monday, August 27, 2012

Syria- The World is Watching

A history cap on all of this:
From Wikipedia

United States

The official relations began in 1835 when the United States first appointed U.S. consuls to Aleppo which was then a part of the Ottoman Empire. After Syrian independence was declared in 1946 the United States would establish a consulate in Damascus. On September 7, 1946, the United States recognized an independent Syria, appointing George Wadsworth to the diplomatic mission.

As a result of a failed 1957 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) coup attempt to topple Syrian President Adib Shishakli, Syria asked US Ambassador James S. Moose to leave Damascus. In return Syrian Ambassador Faris Zain Al-Din was called back to Syria. Later, U.S.–Syrian relations were severed again in 1967 after the Israeli-Arab War which resulted in Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights. Following the achievement of the Syrian-Israeli disengagement agreement, relations resumed in June 1974, and, afterwards, U.S. President Richard Nixon visited Damascus on an official trip.

During the Gulf War in 1990–91, Syria cooperated with the United States as a member of the multinational coalition of forces. The U.S. and Syria also consulted closely on the Taif Accord, ending the civil war in Lebanon. In 1991, Syrian President Hafez al-Assad made a historic decision to accept then President Bush's invitation to attend a Middle East peace conference and to engage in subsequent bilateral negotiations with Israel. Syria improved its relations with the United States by securing the release of Western hostages held in Lebanon and lifting the travel restrictions on Syrian Jews. Throughout the Clinton Administration there were multiple attempts to engage al-Assad in Middle East Peace Negotiations. These include several presidential summits; the last one occurred when then-President Bill Clinton met the President Hafez al-Assad in Geneva in March 2000.

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001, the Syrian Government began limited cooperation with U.S. in the war against terror. In one such case, Syrian intelligence alerted the U.S. of an Al Qaeda plan similar to the USS Cole bombing, which was to fly a hand glider loaded with explosives into the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain. Syria’s opposition to the Iraq War deteriorated relations. Serious contention arose because the Syria Government failed to prevent foreign fighters from using Syrian borders to enter Iraq and refused to deport the elements from the former Saddam Hussein regime that support Iraqi insurgency. In turn, Syrian officials had concerns due to the high influx of Iraqi refugees into their country.

Issues of U.S. concern include its ongoing interference in Lebanese affairs, its protection of the leadership of Palestinian rejectionist groups in Damascus, its human rights record, and its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Relations reached their low point after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In February 2005, in the wake of the Hariri assassination, the U.S. recalled its Ambassador to Washington.


Syria is considered to be a secular dictatorship with a poor human rights record.  Syria has been on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism since the list's inception in 1979 and deems it to be a “safe-haven” for terrorists. Syria rejects its classification by the U.S. as a state sponsor of terrorism. In 1986, the U.S. withdrew its ambassador and imposed additional administrative sanctions on Syria in response to evidence of direct Syrian involvement in an attempt to blow up an Israeli airplane. A U.S. ambassador returned to Damascus in 1987, partially in response to positive Syrian actions against terrorism such as expelling the Abu Nidal Organization from Syria and helping free an American hostage earlier that year.

Syria has publicly condemned international terrorist attacks, and has not been directly linked to terrorist activity since 1986, as it denies any involvement in Hariri killing. Syria actively bars any Syrian-based terrorist attacks and targeting of Westerners. Instead, Syria provides “passive support” to groups it deems as legitimate resistance movements. The United States characterizes this as providing safe-havens for terrorists groups, as the Syrian government allows groups such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command to operate within its borders . The U.S. believes that Syria provides tactical and political support to these groups and in April 2010 condemned Syria as it believes it provides SCUD missiles to Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.

Executive Orders

There have been a series of executive orders administered by the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) which include Executive Orders 13315, 13224, 13382, 13338, 13399, 13441, and 13460. These sanctions are imposed on certain Syrian citizens or entities due to their participation in terrorism, acts of public corruption, or their destabilizing activities in Iraq and Lebanon. As of 2010, there have been 20 Syrian citizens who have been sanctioned. On August 18, 2011, Executive Order 13582 signed by President Obama Freezes all assets of the Government of Syria, prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transaction involving the Government of Syria, bans U.S. imports of Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products, prohibits U.S. persons from having any dealings in or related to Syria’s petroleum or petroleum products, and prohibits U.S. persons from operating or investing in Syria.

Reaction to crackdown

In the early weeks of the 2011 Syrian uprising, the U.S. chose not to respond to apparent abuses of peaceful demonstrators by Syrian security forces. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton referred to Assad as a "reformer" in late March 2011 and said the U.S. believed he would respond appropriately to the demands of his people.  As the situation in Syria deteriorated and the government resorted to increasingly desperate measures to crush the protest movement, Washington's patience flagged, and by mid-August 2011, President Obama stated plainly his belief that Assad should step down. The U.S. pushed strongly for the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution condemning the crackdown and adopting economic sanctions against Syria in late September and early October 2011, and when Russia and the People's Republic of China wielded their veto power to block the proposal, Ambassador Susan Rice expressed "outrage".

Relations have been further strained by Syrian security forces' failure to protect Robert Stephen Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, from being attacked by pro-Assad mobs on at least two occasions, as well as to prevent vandalism of the U.S. embassy and diplomatic property. On October 24, 2011, the U.S. announced that it had recalled Ambassador Ford due to 'credible threats against his personal safety." Currently, US interests in Syria are represented by an Interest Section in the Embassy of Poland.

On 20 August 2012, President Barack Obama warned that the use of chemical weapons in Syria by President Bashar al-Assad would be a "red line" for America and would change Obama's views on intervening in the Syrian civil war. Obama said that the consequences of using these weapons would be enormous, and their deployment would widen the conflict in the region, and would concern America's allies as well.

Russia's role in the Syrian civil war

Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011 between President Bashar al-Assad's government and thousands of demonstrators, Russia has played a strategic role in the unfolding of the crisis on the world stage. In a historical context, the two countries have shared a close, though sometimes rocky, relationship, as Syria is Russia's closest Middle Eastern ally. In 1956 Syria followed Egypt in acquiring arms from the Soviet Union, and the Suez War accelerated a multiplication of ties between Syria and the Soviet Union - ties closely associated with the increase in power and influence of the Ba'ath Party. The Russian government continues to support President Assad, despite international calls for condemnation amidst accusations that Assad’s government has killed over 9,000 of its own citizens in order to maintain control. Human rights groups insist the number is closer to 11,000. There are several potential motivating factors behind Russia’s support of President Assad and his government. Although the international community favors a swift end to the bloodshed in Syria, the agreements have been stalled by political stalemates. Western countries favor stronger measures against President Assad, with countries such as the United States calling for his removal, while Russia and China staunchly back resolution by the Syrian people without outside interference.

Historical relationship between Russia and Syria

Russia’s political presence in Syria predates the creation of the modern Syrian state after World War II. The late 19th and early 20th centuries can be characterized by a series of events linking the two nations together. In 1893, a Russian consular office was established in Damascus, further cementing the relationship. By 1905, the Imperial Russian Orthodox Society had opened 74 schools in Syria, but by 1910, the society was spending most of its income on Syrian education, even neglecting its principal obligation to the Russian pilgrims in the Holy Land. The Bolshevik revolution essentially brought an end to Russian presence in Syria for a brief period. Although Russia did not play a large political role, it helped Syria establish the first Syrian Communist Party in 1925. The relationship was restored when Moscow established diplomatic links with Syria in 1944 before Syria was formally recognized as an independent state on 17 April 1946. Over the years, Syria has received substantial military and economic aid from the Soviet Union and Russia.

During the Cold War, Damascus served as an ally to Moscow in opposition to the western powers, creating a stronger political bond. Between 1955 and 1958, Syria received about $294 million from Moscow for military and economic assistance, a business relationship which continues today. Thousands of Syrian military officers and educated professionals studied in Russia during the senior Assad's four-decade rule, and such connections have resulted in many marriages and mixed families.

The Syrian Revolution of February 1966 allowed the Soviet Union the opportunity to further support Syria. This was due to the possibility of acquiring basing rights on the Mediterranean Sea in order to counter the U.S. Sixth Fleet. Had the Soviet Union and Egypt united against the United States and neighboring Israel, this would have greatly increased Soviet influence in the region. In April 1977, President Hafez al-Assad visited Moscow, and met with Soviet leaders Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin among others, as a sign of improved Syrian relations with the USSR. Three years later, in October 1980, Syria signed a twenty-year Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union.

Economic importance and history of arms sales

Arms sales from the Soviet Union and Russia to Syria are well-documented. Reports released by the United States Congressional Research Service in 2008 note that Syria purchased several billions of dollars' worth of military equipment from the former Soviet Union, including SS-21 “Scarab” short-range missiles (range 70 km). According to the report, Soviet military sales to Syria in the 1970s and 80's were so extensive, they accounted for 90% of all military arms imports from the Soviet Union, making the Soviet Union a main supplier of arms for Syria.imports, but continued to seek them through Soviet satellite states. Russia's establishment as a nation-state in 1992 saw the re-introduction of the patron-vendor relationship and the cancellation of almost 73% of Syria's debt.

Today, Russia is the world's second largest arms exporter (behind the United States) and lost $4 billion in Libyan contracts due to a United Nations arms embargo in 2011. According to reports, 2.4% of Russia's exports comes from defense-related sales, so the recent Arab Spring conflicts saw an uptick in sales to countries like Syria.

Russia has been shipping large amounts of weapons to Bashar al-Assad, with one ship loaded with "dangerous cargo" notably having to stop in Cyprus due to stormy weather on 10 January 2012. Russia's current contracts with Syria for arms are estimated to be worth 1.5 billion US dollars, comprising 10% of Russia's global arms sales.

The recent Syrian conflict began in early 2011, and as word spread globally of the increasing death toll, Russia's arms sales sparked anger and criticism on the part of certain Western and Arab nations, and global leaders encouraged Russia to end arms sales to Syria. Russian officials refused, however, noting the contractual obligations they were under with their customers, and the Russian government defended its sales by pointing out that they did not violate any standing arms embargoes.

As the conflict continued, Western anger over the arms sales grew. On 1 June, right after the Houla massacre, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton singled Russia out, condemning Russia's alleged "continuous supply of arms to Syria" and that in her view, Russia's stance in the conflict was not neutral as it claimed it was. In particular, there was ire over a report that Russia allegedly delivered arms to the Syrian port of Tartus in the same week as the infamous massacre. In response to this and to American criticism of Russia's policy on Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that Russia was shipping any arms to Syria "which can be used in a civilian conflict". Later, the Russian foreign ministry also retaliated with a statement saying "The tragedy in Houla showed what can be the outcome of financial aid and smuggling of modern weapons to rebels, recruitment of foreign mercenaries and flirting with various sorts of extremists."


Journalists and world leaders have voiced concerns that Russia is attempting to play a strategic role in the Syrian conflict in order to boost its world standing and legitimacy. Former U.K. ambassador to Russia from 2004 to 2008, Tony Brenton, said in a recent interview that Russia is looking for its first opportunity since the Cold War to boost its brokering abilities. Many critics now point to Russia's learned lesson of 2011 when it abstained from a U.N. vote concerning military intervention in Libya. Because of this abstention, the resolution to establish a no-fly zone in Libya passed. The war eventually led the country into chaos, replacing a regime which originally purchased Russian arms with a weak central government that was much less friendly to Russia. Russia would like to maintain control of the Syrian conflict, critics assert, to avoid a situation similar to Libya.

In January 2012, Human Rights Watch criticised Russia for "repeating the mistakes of Western governments" in its "misguided" support of Assad. The human rights group also accused Russia of selectively using one of its reports to support a one-sided position on Syria. Before March 2012 Russia had shown constant and vocal support for the Assad government, which is now considered to be Moscow's last remaining ally in the Middle East.

People's Republic of China

The PRC Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu said on 24 May: "China believes that when it comes to properly handling the current Syrian situation, it is the correct direction and major approach to resolve the internal differences through political dialogue and maintain its national stability as well as the overall stability and security of the Middle East. The future of Syria should be independently decided by the Syrian people themselves free from external interference. We hope the international community continues to play a constructive role in this regard." On the 4th of October, Russia and China vetoed a Western-drafted resolution which would have threatened the Syrian government with targeted sanctions if it continued military actions against protestors. However in the days following their opposition on the UNSC to derail a 'Libyan intervention scenario', both Russia and China issued rare public admonishments of the Syrian Government separately expressing their desire for them to reform and respect the will of the Syrian people.

Economic relations

China and Syria have significant trade relations. In 2009, mutual trade between the two countries was worth nearly $2.2 billion according to figures from the International Monetary Fund, and similar trade volumes were expected by the Syrian Ministry of Economy for 2010. The trade, however, is almost entirely one way. Exports from Syria to China made up less than 1 percent of the total trade volume at $5.6 million, while exports from China to Syria were worth $2.2 billion making China Syria's main importer. China is actively involved in Syria's oil industry. China National Petroleum Corporation is a joint venture partner with Syria's national oil company and Royal Dutch Shell in the Al-Furat Petroleum Company, the main oil producing consortium in the country.[4] The Al-Furat consortium produces some 100,000 barrels per day (bpd). Sinochem is another Chinese oil company that has been very active in recent oil exploration tenders. China's CNPC and Sinopec are helping to revive output under rehabilitation contracts for small mature oil fields in Syria. China has also helped Syria build some construction projects such as a textile mill and stadium. China currently has contracted to build a hydraulic power station and a rubber tyre factory.


Despite pressure from Damascus on India to reject any statement critical of the Syrian government, Indian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Hardeep Puri read the 3 August presidential statement agreed to by the United Nations Security Council condemning Syrian authorities' use of force and "widespread violations of human rights". Moreover, India abstained from voting against the violence committed by Syrian regime prompting harsh criticism from the Human Rights Watch.


Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, spoke out in favor of the Syrian government in regard to the uprising – “In Syria, the hand of America and Israel is evident” and “Wherever a movement is Islamic, populist and anti-American, we support it”. The Guardian reported that the Iranian government is assisting the Syrian government with riot control equipment, intelligence monitoring techniques, oil supply, and snipers. It has also been reported that Iran has sent the Syrian regime $9 billion to help it withstand the sanctions imposed upon it.

On 15 August, while visiting Cairo, Egypt, high-ranking Iranian parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi condemned the actions of Syrian protesters, claiming they were American agents trying to destabilise Syria in order to benefit Israel. On the same day, a report published in the British Daily Telegraph quoted an alleged defector from the Syrian secret police as saying Iranian soldiers, including snipers, were working alongside Syrian police, paramilitary, and military units fighting to put down the uprising.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview with the Lebanon|Lebanese television news network Al-Manar on 25 August that the violence should end and "the people and government of Syria" should join in a national dialogue. "When there is a problem between the people and their leaders, they must sit down together to reach a solution, away from violence", Ahmadinejad said. However, he told Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar on 26 August that he believed that any "interference of foreigners and domineering powers in the regional countries’ internal affairs would complicate the situation".


On 3 April, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called Syria's President and voiced Iraq's support of Syria "in the face of conspiracies targeting Syria's stability". However, on 9 August, as violence continued during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the Council of Representatives of Iraq issued a statement demanding reforms and an immediate halt to violence, which read in part: "We call to stop all non-peaceful practices, and all actions for suppression of freedoms and bloodshed is condemned and unacceptable." Speaker Osama al-Najafi condemned the use of violence by the regime and said, "For the sake of the Syrian people, we demand the government, out of its responsibility to safeguard the lives of its people and their property, take the bold and courageous steps to stop the bleeding." Even in the same week as his parliament voiced its condemnation, Maliki appeared unswayed in his support for Assad, blaming protesters for trying to "sabotage" Syria and saying they should "use the democratic process, not riots, to voice their displeasure", according to The New York Times. Iraqi Ambassador to the United States Samir Sumaida'ie said in an interview with a Foreign Policy blog on 25 August that he believed Assad's regime was "steadily losing its friends, its credibility, and its grip" and would eventually collapse, which would "alter the balance of power in the region and will eventually weaken Iran and reduce its capacity to project its power through Hezbollah, Hamas, and other instruments". He said Baghdad is not concerned about any potential instability that may arise from Assad's ouster.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah became the first Arab head of state to openly condemn the Syrian government over its response to the uprising in the early morning of 8 August, saying, "What is happening in Syria is not acceptable for Saudi Arabia." He warned Syria "will be pulled down into the depths of turmoil and loss" if it did not immediately move to enact major political reforms. He also announced Saudi Arabia was withdrawing its ambassador to Syria. Despite originally wanting to stay out of Syria's affairs, Saudi Arabia's head of state, King Abdullah, escalated the rhetoric, calling on the government to stop its "killing machine".

Arab League

Nabil Elaraby, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, called for an end to the violence on 7 August. He cited "growing concern and strong distress over the deteriorating security conditions in Syria due to escalating violence and military operations in Hama and Deir al-Zor and other areas of Syria" and said the government should "stop all acts of violence" at once. In a reference to the Syrian head of state's efforts to pacify protests, he added, "There is still a chance for the reforms that were announced by President Bashar al-Assad to be accomplished." On 27 August, the Arab League voted to condemn the crackdown and call for an end to the violence. The next day, it said in a statement that it would dispatch Elaraby himself on an "urgent mission" to Syria in an endeavour to end the crisis. After meeting with Assad on 10 September, Elaraby told reporters, "I heard from him an understanding of the situation and he showed me a series of measures taken by the Syrian government that focused on national dialogue." He did not offer details of the conversation, but said he and Assad had shared proposals for ending the violence. In early November 2011 after negotiation the Arab League announced that the Syrian Government had agreed to end it's crackdown, remove troops, release prisoners, begin a dialog with its citizens, and allow observers and journalists free movement. To date Syria has not honored that agreement.

On 12 November, the Arab League voted to suspend Syria from the organization if Al-Assad's government would not stop violence against protestors by 16 November, and invited Syria's opposition parties to join talks in the League's headquarters in Cairo. Syria, Lebanon and Yemen voted against the action, while Iraq abstained from the vote. The League also warned of possible sanctions against Syria.

On 18 December, the Arab League threatened Syria with taking their Arab peace proposal to the UNSC. Reportedly a draft resolution by five Arab League members asking the UN Security Council to end the violence inside Syria will be introduced if the Syrian regime does not comply with the League's peace efforts within two weeks. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, the Qatari Prime Minister and head of the Arab League ministerial committee admitted "if the Syrian crisis is not solved within two weeks, the matter would be beyond the control of Arab countries." The Arab league will consider the plan to involve the UN on 21 December.


Israeli reactions have been mixed, with some believing regime change in Syria would weaken their enemy Iran, and others believing a post-Assad Syria might be more dangerous for the Jewish State.

On 24 March 2011, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman said: "The same principles, activities the Western world has taken in Libya ... I hope to see those regarding the Iranian regime and the Syrian regime." Israel expressed concern that Assad will try to divert the attention from the uprising in Syria and try to provoke some border incidents with Israel in the Golan Heights, Lebanon or Gaza or even start a war with Israel in order to unite the Syrian people against Israel and to divert the media attention from the uprising in Syria. On 4 March 2012, Lieberman called on the international community to intervene in Syria in order to stop the killings.

On January 10, 2012 Benny Gantz, the Israeli military chief of staff, informed members of the Knesset committee that in the event of the Syrian regime's collapse Israel is getting ready to permit fleeing Syrian Alawites settlement in the Golan Heights.

Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy has suggested that Israel should exploit the Shia-Sunni conflict. The president, Shimon Peres, said that the international community is not doing enough to stop the violence, and he urged the West to intervene. The Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said that an "axis of evil" is behind the atrocities in Syria. Netanyahu told the Cabinet that Iran and the militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon are assisting the Syrian government in the massacre of civilians.


On 31 March, Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati commended the "ending of the chance to cause strife in Syria" and hailed the Syrian people's "support" for their president. Also, President Michel Suleiman highlighted the importance of stability in Syria, and its positive impact on the security of and economic situation in Lebanon and Syria. On 3 August, Lebanon was the only United Nations Security Council member to disassociate itself from a presidential statement read by the Indian delegate condemning the Syrian government over the crackdown.

Hezbollah, a long-standing ally of the regime, has stood in support of Bashar al-Assad, citing their status as a state of "resistance". Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has suggested that the downfall of the Syrian regime is an interest of the United States and Israel.  The Syrian opposition have accused Hezbollah of aiding the government in suppressing protests. A story in Arabiya suggested that Hezbollah is planning a military coup in Lebanon should the Assad regime fall, with the assistance of the Free Patriotic Movement.


On 21 March, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said: "Syria is on an important threshold. We hope problems between the people and the administration [in Syria] can be handled without trouble." On 2 May, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned that if the Syrian government replicated an incident like the Hama massacre during this uprising, Turkey will not stand by and watch idly. On 10 June, Erdoğan condemned Assad outright, calling the images of Syrian protesters being attacked by security forces "unpalatable" and criticizing the "savagery" of the government's response to the uprising. He said Turkey may back a proposed United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian regime over the crackdown.

President Abdullah Gül sharply condemned the siege of Hama's escalation at the beginning of Ramadan on 1 August, saying the Syrian regime's use of heavy weapons against the general populace "has given me a deep shock". Gül said it was "impossible to remain silent in the face of events visible to everyone ... and accept a bloody atmosphere at the start of Ramadan". He called upon the Syrian government to stop the violence and institute reforms to restore "peace and stability".

Although on 5 August, Davutoğlu said his government was not considering expelling the Syrian ambassador in Ankara, he visited Syria himself on 9 August to deliver a "decisive message", according to Erdoğan. After meeting with Assad and other Syrian officials for over six hours, Davutoğlu said he had outlined "concrete steps" that the Syrian government should take, but he did not say how they responded. The Hurriyet Daily News reported on 13 August that the meeting had delivered an ultimatum from Turkey's president to Syria's president, and quoted an anonymous government source as saying Turkey could intervene militarily if Assad did not renounce the use of violence. The report suggested the Turkish government is concerned about Syrian ties to Iran and the role both have historically played in destabilizing Iraq, as well as the possible sectarian dynamic of the uprising and crackdown. On 15 August, Davutoğlu warned that the violence must stop "immediately and without conditions or excuses" or Turkey would take unspecified "steps". Gül expressed disappointment in the regime on 28 August and said his government had "lost confidence" in Assad.

Turkey stopped at least two shipments of what it said are Iranian weapons being transported to Syria amidst the 2011 uprising, one in March and one in early August.

On 10 April 2012, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed Syrian Regime, he said "They are even shooting these fleeing people from behind. They are mercilessly shooting them, regardless of whether they are children or women." and added "Indeed, he(Assad) gave his word to Mr. Annan, but despite giving his word he is continuing to kill 60, 70, 80, 100 every day. This is the situation."


The Jordanian Foreign Ministry called for dialogue to end the crisis, saying, "What is happening in Syria now is worrisome, unfortunate and sad. We hope that dialogue is restored and reforms are achieved in order to get Syria out of this impasse. " However, Jordan also insisted that it would not interfere in Syria's internal affairs. On 13 August, a spokesman for the government said Amman's "concern was growing" and added, "The government has voiced and still voices regret over the increasing number of victims and calls for sparing the lives of the brotherly Syrian people." Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit said on 15 August that the crackdown must end and serious reforms should be implemented soon. On 18 August, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said Jordan was "angered" and "extremely worried" by the situation in Syria and the actions of Assad's security forces.


On 6 April, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir called al-Assad to voice his support for Syria against "the attempts aimed at destabilising it."


Fatah Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki called military operations in Latakia "very worrisome" on 15 August amid UNRWA reports that thousands of Palestinians had been forced to flee from a major refugee camp on the outskirts of the Syrian city. A spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas demanded that the Syrian government protect the Palestinians. A Hamas spokesman said he was unaware of the reports and denied that the uprising had affected Hamas' position in Syria or elsewhere.


The Egyptian government broke its silence over the uprising on 9 August, with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr asserting that "reforms that are soaked in the blood of the martyrs who are dying daily are of no use" in an apparent criticism of the Syrian government's simultaneous promises of political concessions and use of force to suppress protesters. Amr said he feared the situation in Syria was "heading to the point of no return" and demanded an "immediate end to shootings". He also called upon Syrian authorities and citizens to come together in a national dialogue and bring an end to the crisis.


A statement attributed to Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeaki Matsumoto published on 24 April condemned the Syrian government's use of force and noted the rising numbers of casualties and fatalities in Syria. The statement said additional reforms beyond the government's lifting of the emergency law were urgently required and called for a stop to the violence.

United Kingdom

On 24 March, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "We call on the government of Syria to respect their people's right to peaceful protest, and to take action about their legitimate grievances." On 10 August, after Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari compared the protests in Syria to the actions of rioters in England, British Permanent Representative to the United Nations Mark Lyall Grant called the comparison "ludicrous", saying, "In the United Kingdom, you have a situation where the government is taking measured, proportionate, legal, transparent steps to ensure the rule of law for its citizens. In Syria, you have a situation where thousands of unarmed civilians are being attacked and many of them killed." Prime Minister David Cameron, together with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, demanded Assad step down in an 18 August joint statement, which also condemned the crackdown and called for an end to violence.

United Nations

On 18 March, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the use of deadly force against protesters by the Syrian authorities as "unacceptable". In a presidential statement on 3 August, the United Nations Security Council condemned "the widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities". The statement, which did not threaten economic sanctions and lacked the full stature of a resolution, was disavowed by non-permanent Security Council member Lebanon.


The international reactions to the Syrian civil war concern the response of international bodies, foreign governments, non-governmental organisations and multinational corporations headquartered outside of Syria. Many Western governments have condemned Assad's response as overly heavy-handed and violent, while many Middle Eastern governments initially expressed support for Assad and the "security measures" his regime has taken, though as the death toll mounted especially in Hama they switched sides, often adopting the rhetoric of Western countries. Other countries, including (but not limited to) China and Russia have vetoed attempts at UN sanctions of the Assad government.

A lot is at stake here and the world is changing as all eyes are on The Middle East.
Big chess game here, strong holds, economics, reform and globalization of the world.

So lets look at what we have in Big Guns!  Because this will be Big!


From Journeyman Pictures:
Battle For Syria: It is a dirty war of vigilante justice, rag-tag militias and indiscriminate bombing of civilians. This stunning and intimate film gets right into the stark reality of the frontline battle for Syria.
Journeyman Pictures

Updates on Syria

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