Why that matters: as Salman Shaikh explained to us yesterday, that paves the way for possible arming of the rebels or using military support to protect them. And that step is key, as the opposition looks toward setting up a transitional government in Northern Syria, as they’ve suggested to us they’d like to do.
In short, this wording in the statement = more likely military support = more probable, more soon we’d see a transitional government set up inside of Syria.
Call for an immediate cessation of violence:
1 Participants called on the Syrian regime to immediately cease its attacks and fully withdraw troops from urban areas as the first steps towards a comprehensive cessation of violence. They condemned the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Syrian regime, including with heavy weapons, aerial attacks and missiles. They deplored the growing human cost of the conflict, including over 40,000 deaths and the escalating humanitarian and refugee crisis. They called for the end of violence and support conditions for a sustained, inclusive political solution to the crisis. They also called on all sides to respect international humanitarian law.
2 Participants recognized the legitimate need for the Syrian people to defend themselves against the violent and brutal campaign of Al Assad regime.
Other parts of the draft statement we found intriguing:
Participants acknowledged the National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and the umbrella organisation under which Syrian opposition groups are gathering.
****Commitment to Syria’s Sovereignty and territorial integrity:
Participants reiterated the firm commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, independence, national unity and territorial integrity.
Warning against any attempt to export the Syrian crisis:
Participants noted that the continuation of the crisis was threatening the stability, security and economic well-being of neighbouring and regional countries. Participants expressed their strong support for efforts to protect against the growing threat, including NATO’s decision to augment Turkey’s defense and allies’ intent to deploy the Patriot air defence system to Turkey.
International Community’s Responsibility:
Participants urged some countries supporting the Syrian regime to review their position in view of the strong resolve of the international community. They encouraged all relevant UN bodies to fulfill their responsibilities.
Ending human rights violations in Syria and helping the Syrians lead transitional justice in their country:
Participants condemned the escalation of systematic and widespread violations by the Syrian Regime of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture, sexual violence and deliberate destruction of residential areas.
Participants underscored the importance of respecting international humanitarian law and human rights law by all and at all times, and condemned those who do not respect this.
Participants stressed once again that the Syrian regime will not escape accountability and punishment for its violations of international law.
Participants called upon the International Community to take the necessary measures to deny the Syrian regime access to any means of repression and violence, and demanded the countries that have been supplying it with those tools to end this practice and assume their moral responsibility towards the victims.
Participants reaffirmed the importance of international efforts to document the Syrian Regime violations of international law, in particular, their support to the work and reports of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, which enabled the identification of continuous gross human rights violations perpetrated against the Syrian people. These reports confirmed the participation of the regime’s security forces in atrocities committed against civilians, including gross violations of the humanitarian international law and human rights law.