Opinion | Editorials

Don’t ignore Syria’s humanitarian crisis

International community should focus on ending the refugee exodus rather than military action

  • Gulf News
  • Published: 20:00 August 25, 2012
  • Gulf News

There seems to be no ready-made solution to the Syrian crisis. The regime and its opponents, including international and regional players, obviously don’t have a clue about how to end the bloodshed and restore stability without compromising the popular demands that sparked the revolution nearly 18 months ago.

The revolution has moved on from a peaceful uprising to an armed struggle. The regime, meanwhile, has been consistent in its one track solution — military intervention.

The new negotiator, Algerian diplomat Lakhadar Brahimi, started his mission with scepticism. He says that his chances of bringing about an acceptable peaceful settlement are not encouraging.

The crisis has entered a critical phase and western powers are now hinting at military intervention, Libya style. This will most probably be imposing a no-fly zone over Syria to deny the government the ability to use its airpower in its heavy-handed campaign to eradicate its opponents. Then those countries may use their own airpower to target the regime’s forces and military facilities.

There is only one problem. The Syrian case is a bit different. The country is surrounded by hotspots that are on shaky grounds. For more than two months, Lebanon has been witnessing regular clashes in its north, influenced by the armed conflict in Syria. Turkey fears a re-emergence of Kurdish rebellion and Iraq has yet to recover from its own civil strife which many say will be inflamed along sectarian lines.

The immediate focus today should be on addressing the humanitarian situation as the number of refugees and the displaced grow by the minute. Secondly, the insistence of the regime and its opponents on the military solution is partly influenced by the support of their respective allies. International efforts must focus on those allies to persuade Damascus and the opposition to revive the United Nations-sanctioned Kofi Annan plan.

The longer the crisis continues unaddressed, the more complex and dangerous it will become.

Gulf News