Press Release: UN Security Council Resolution 2401 on Syria was dead on arrival
26 February 2018
The latest United Nations Security Council Resolution on Syria calling for a thirty day cessation of hostilities was “dead on arrival.” The Syrian regime did not pause in its bombardment of eastern Ghouta and still it is making no attempt to adhere to the terms of the resolution. It exposes once again its contempt for international law and the disgraceful manner in which Russia continues to protect its ally from any accountability for its actions.
Around 400,000 people are surviving under the most intolerable conditions in the enclave east of Damascus, some parts of which have been under siege according to the U.N since November 2013. The resolution also called for immediate humanitarian access and the evacuation of those in need of urgent medical attention.
In an article for Arab News, Doyle argued that “the text was drafted for failure; all the ingredients are there to ensure it cannot work. The armed groups that are not covered by the cessation of hostilities include plenty who have members inside Ghouta, so Syrian and Russian forces can claim military action is in line with the resolution. Turkey has made it clear it does not feel bound to halt its military operations in Afrin.”
The resolution also lacked any clear monitoring mechanism for the cessation of hostilities. According to Doyle “any half-decent ceasefire requires an independent and powerful monitoring mechanism. However, the word “monitoring” or even the weaker term “observe” do not even appear in the text. Instead it will “build on existing arrangements,” which are the ones that Russia, Turkey and Iran, parties to the conflict, put in place.”
Although Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime bear the largest share of responsibility for events in eastern Ghouta, other parties also are not beyond reproach.
“The US and European powers will sanctimoniously claim the moral high ground but they are all guilty too and still very much in the race to the bottom. Ask people in Raqqa or Mosul about the impact of the US-led coalition’s bombing of their cities and how many civilians their bombings killed.
And what about Gaza? Here too for years Palestinian civilians have lived under siege, not quite as severe but still facing regular bombardments; and there too armed groups’ fire mortars on to outside civilians. Here it is the US that shields its proxy Israel from any criticism, just as Russia does for the Assad regime. The latter has just taken the Israeli strategy to new depths. Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador at the UN, was prepared to quote Syrian civilians in Ghouta in a way she never would if they were Palestinians suffering in Gaza.”
Doyle concluded that “For all the warm diplomatic statements welcoming this resolution, its failure is off the charts. The pressure remains massively short of what is needed to end the conflict, to re-impose the norms of international law in Syria and across the Middle East, and above all to allow the Syrian people to reacquaint themselves with what passes for normal, peaceful existence. Never has this Chinese saying seemed truer: “It is better to be a dog in peacetime than a human being in war.”
Notes to editors:
- For more information or interviews contact Chris Doyle, on + 44207 832 1321 or +447968 040281.