Caabu Letter in the Times: Syrian 'protection'

Posted by Caabu on 13 Feb 2012

Caabu Letter in the Times: 'Syrian protection'

Published 13 February 2012



The appalling brutality of the Syrian regime and the pummelling of Syrian cities, especially Homs, have raised once again the issue of civilian protection. Arguments are made for no-fly-zones and safe zones. Yet we should be clear. This would mean war. It means bombing. It would mean that fatalities that currently are numbered in thousands would be in tens or hundreds of thousands. 


A no-fly-zone would not stop the flattening of Homs by tanks and mortar. There is no credible plan for safe zones, which would become a magnet for regime attacks on anyone trying to travel there. The reason none of this has been done is that sensible strategists know such options are too risky.  There is no military process that will have a chance of improving the situation in Syria. Ban Ki-Moon is right that a UN monitoring presence, Arab-led, considerably larger than the existing one, with an independent mandate, with trained credible professionals might just have a chance of stemming the bloodshed. With the end of the killing, perhaps then there can be a chance of resolving the Syrian crisis leading to a democratic and prosperous Syria. At the moment all Syrians are on the losing side. 


Chris Doyle

Director, Caabu (Council for Arab-British Understanding)