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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Syrian situation gets worse day by day

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Meg Munn MP recently hosted a meeting for fellow Labour MPs with Rime Allaf, advisor to the presidency of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces. Born in Damascus Rime is also on the Board of Directors of The Day After, a Syrian-led civil society organisation working to support a democratic transition in Syria.

Rime described how the National Coalition supported the Geneva conferences, and in particular the need to establish a transitional body as a means for Syria to move to a secular, plural, democratic and inclusive country. While the Coalition had some concerns about the process they nevertheless supported the communiqué that had been agreed.

She outlined a failure of the international community to enforce UN resolutions 2139 on the need for humanitarian relief, as well as 2118 which is focused on the use of chemical weapons. The Syrian regime has shown no signs of wanting of co-operate with the Geneva 2 process, and is now starving people into submission using barrel bombs. Recently there is evidence of the use of chlorine gas and the same time the international community fails to respond. The proposed elections are farcical.

The view of the National Coalition is that if the international community is incapable of imposing a political solution then the opposition forces should be allowed to defend themselves. Rime outlined the very clear differences between the Free Syrian Army and jihadists groups, and how the later extremist groups are targeting the former. The National Coalition are asking for technical assistance and in particular the means to defend themselves from the air capability of Assad.

During the discussion there were questions as to whether additional resources to the Free Syria Army would change the current balance of power. Rime responded that there is no guarantee but that is currently no other alternative as the international community fails to act. Reflecting on the initial response of the international community in August to the chemical weapons attack she said that this had caused Russia and the Iranians to hesitate. However as there was no follow through they now believe that the international community will take no action. 

Meg commented:

"The situation in Syria gets worse day by day with estimates of dead now anywhere between 150,000 and 200,000. It is not acceptable for the international community to pass resolutions at the UN and then fail to provide the means to enforce them.

The UK Government decided many months ago to support the National Coalition. I will continue to press them to do more, and press the United Nations to live up to the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect."


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