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Syria air strikes threaten international legal order

Left MEPs have condemned the military intervention in Syria by the US, France and the UK during a debate in the European Parliament this afternoon.

They said the attacks risk escalating the ongoing confrontation with Russia – making prospects for a resolution to the protracted conflict in Syria all the more difficult.   

GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer (DIE LINKE., Germany) urged all sides to allow for a proper investigation to take place:

“Some governments pretend that what happened last week was just a symbolic act, like a game. But it was not just symbolic. Eventually everybody was happy that there was no further escalation. But how can we demand a political solution to the conflict in Syria while hoping that Russia does not react to the attacks?”

“We need to promote a joint investigation on the use of chemical weapons in Syria so that we know exactly what happened and can bring those responsible to justice. I doubt that a military attack without proof of use of chemical weapons was helpful to bring the parties closer. What happened won´t help open the doors for diplomacy.”

“We must ensure that the parties come back to the negotiating table instead of playing games and feeding their egos. These reckless acts endanger the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,” says Zimmer.

Marisa Matias (Bloco de Esquerda, Portugal) questioned the sincerity of EU countries that claim to care for the Syrian people:

“When Syrians needed solidarity as they were fleeing war and terrorism, the EU turned the other cheek. They allowed for the largest refugee crisis in history to happen – only to then use the refugees to fuel a discourse of hate, racism and xenophobia.”

“When they were most desperate, no one was there for the Syrians – like today. Anyone who lauded this clear violation of international law does not care about the Syrian people.”

“We need courage and strength to condemn this attack – the same courage and strength some people use for condemning the actions of Bashar al-Assad and Russia. The only people we must continue defending are the Syrian people. This world is being led by madmen and if we normalise them, we become complicit in their crimes.”

Finally, Javier Couso (Izquierda Unida, Spain) accused the US-led coalition’s attack as a threat to international law:

“The attack on Syria perpetrated by the US, the UK and France is an affront to international legality since it does not have the agreement of the United Nations Security Council nor does it take place for reasons of self-defence. According to international law, it is a criminal act and in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations.”

“The attack took place without there being a shred of evidence, and before the conclusion of the OPCW investigation and in clear disregard of Article 7 of the Treaty of the Union that requires the approval of the UN. By allowing the US to be judge, jury and executioner, we have replaced diplomacy with the law of might. It is absolutely undemocratic and illegal that neither the US, nor the UK or France have consulted their parliaments for this act of war, and which was only celebrated by terrorists and all those who wish to see an end to the United Nations Charter,” Couso concluded.