Letter to the Representatives at the EU Foreign Affairs Council regarding the Arms Embargo to Syria (24 May 2013)

Friday, 24 May 2013
Re: Urgent call by Syrian Christians to uphold the weapons embargo to Syria

Your Excellency,

We refer to the upcoming European Union meeting to be held this Monday 27 May 2013 in Brussels, which will discuss the current EU weapons embargo to Syria. The great majority of Syrian people are vehemently against the Syrian war and plead with international community to put the pressure on relevant parties to solve this war through peaceful means, not through an increase in weapons supplies to any party, including the rebel movement.

Free-Syrian-Army-fighters-008-Muzaffer Salman REUTERS

 Photo: Muzaffer Salman (REUTERS)

The World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (“WCA”), a United Nations NGO, is the global umbrella organization representing the various Aramaic (Syriac) national federations in the continents of Europe, America, Australia and the Middle East. The Aramean people represent a large proportion of the 10% Christian population in Syria. The shocking result of this war has been a substantial decrease in the number of Christians in Syria, not to mention those Christians internally displaced by the constant terror of more violence.

Given the complexities and terror of the war in Syria, the WCA has always maintained that flooding Syria with more weapons is not and cannot be the answer. Instead, both a ceasefire and dialogue from both sides must be the only way to resolve this long drawn-out conflict. The current push by governments such as France, UK, Italy and Spain to lift the arms embargo to Syria will not only cost more Syrian lives but it will also further distance both parties from having the dialogue that is long due. It would furthermore undermine the efforts of the US and Russia to hold a conference to reconcile the war torn country.

Claims made by countries in favor of removing the ban have argued that such an action would pressure the Syrian government to have a dialogue with the opposition and give moderate opposition groups a chance to protect themselves from airstrikes. It has also been argued by some EU governments that such pressure will force Mr Assad’s hand and he will resign accordingly.

The WCA argues against such claims and recommends that all EU governments stand strong in their resolve to continue with the arms embargo. The WCA also notes the following:

  • It is known that Mr Assad has called for immediate dialogue between his Government and opposition parties in the past. This includes opposition movements from within and outside Syria. There is an active opposition in the country and these people cannot be neglected. The opposition outside Syria has continually disagreed with dialogue unless the Syrian President resigns his position. This makes very little sense and defeats the purpose of finding a peaceful resolution to the war; and
  • The opposition to this day has huge problems unifying their own position and securing the support of the Syrian people in Syria. Further, we have seen the large scale radicalization of many of so called moderate opposition groups in Syria. It is a risky move to even imply that any new weapons supply from the EU will not end up in the hands of radical and terrorist opposition groups. The last thing the EU wants is blood on its own hands from terrorist groups.

The WCA pleads with the EU and the international community to push for real dialogue between the Syrian Government and those who truly represent the people, in particular the Syrian minorities as the non-Sunni and Christian population. The latter which includes the Aramean people, have always focused on democracy and dialogue, not on war and terror. Instead of lifting the embargo of arms sales to the Syrian outside opposition movement, the EU should also focus on the terrible humanitarian situation that has been caused by this prolonged war. It is undeniable that more weapons will only exacerbate this war and further destabilize Syria.

The WCA reiterates that it would be highly irresponsible to push more weapons into Syria, which will no doubt cause the death of thousands more innocent Syrian lives.

Therefore, we call upon you as a distinguished representative of your government to protect innocent Syrian lives and to force and promote dialogue efforts without pre-conditions as agreed during the Geneva peace proposals of February 2012.

Respectfully yours,

Johny Messo
World Council of Arameans (Syriacs)

Click here to download the letter in pdf



Please enter your e-mail address in order to receive the latest WCA news!