U.N. General Assembly Meets to Discuss Humanitarian Crisis in Syria
On Monday, the U.N. General Assembly prepared to vote on a resolution, proposed by Saudi Arabia, endorsing the Arab League plan introduced by the 22-member states this past Sunday in Cairo. The Arab League introduced this document in hopes of ending the ongoing violence in Syria and ouster President Bashar Al-Assad. The resolution echoes the resolution that was vetoed at the U.N. Security Council and details alleged human rights violations perpetrated by the Assad regime against the Syrian people. ”The use of force against civilians, arbitrary executions, killing and persecution of protesters, human-rights defenders and journalists, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, interference with access to medical treatment, torture, sexual violence and ill-treatment, including against children,” the document says.
Meanwhile, international support for the “Friends of Syria” coalition endorsed by Turkey, the Arab League, several E.U. member states, and the U.S. has increased. The first meeting of the “Friends of Syria” coalition will take place February 24 in Tunis. The escalating violence in Syria has spilled over into neighboring Lebanon, where two deaths were reported as a result of clashes between Sunni and Alawite communities in Tripoli.
In her statement to the U.N. General Assembly, speaker Navi Pillay said she was “appalled” by the “onslaught” on Homs, cited the Syrian governments use of “tanks, mortars, rockets, and artillery,” and stated that the humanitarian situation was “deplorable.” “No government can commit such acts against its people without its legitimacy being eroded,” said Pillay. Pillay stated that her office “remains ready” to provide assistance to the Arab League upon request and reiterated that “the Fact-Finding Mission, the Commission of Inquiry on Syria” and herself have concluded that “crimes against humanity” have been committed and she encouraged the Security Council to “refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.”
In response, Syrian Ambassador Bashar Al-Jafari reiterated that Syria will not accept any Arab League sponsored proposal calling the proposal a “flagrant interference” in Syrian domestic affairs. Jafari continued to blame “terrorists” for the ongoing violence in Syria, citing recent statement from Al-Qaeda Leader Ayman Al-Zawahri calling muslims to flock to Syria and aid the opposition. Additionally, it has been reported that the Syrian government has released prominent jihadi strategist Abu Musa’ab Al-Suri, sending a message to the U.S. government that “there will be no more coutner-terrorism cooperation in Syria.”