Ten years ago, the Syrian people peacefully took to the streets calling for an end to government corruption and respect for human rights. Their legitimate aspirations were violently suppressed by the Assad regime as military forces fired upon peaceful, pro-democracy protestors.
Over the past 10 years, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed, over 100,000 have been imprisoned, and millions have been displaced from their homes.
“It is impossible to fully fathom the extent of the devastation in Syria,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, “but its people have endured some of the greatest crimes the world has witnessed this century.” The Assad regime’s acts have included chemical and cluster bomb attacks; sieges; extrajudicial killings; arbitrary detention; torture, and the use of children in the conflict.
Secretary General Guterres said the UN will continue to pursue a negotiated political settlement in line with Security Council Resolution 2254, which endorses a road map to a political transition that includes a cease-fire and free and fair elections and the release of Syrians subject to arbitrary detention.
The United States also remains committed to a political settlement. On the tenth anniversary of the start of the Syrian uprising, the Secretary of State of the United States, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, and the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Italy issued a joint statement committing “to reinvigorating the
pursuit of a peaceful solution which protects the rights and future prosperity of all Syrians, based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254.”
“Clear progress towards an inclusive political process and an end to the repression of the Syrian people is essential,” they wrote. “We cannot allow this tragedy to last another decade.”
At a press briefing, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price noted that Bashar al-Assad has been at the center of the suffering and the humanitarian disaster in Syria. “He has done absolutely nothing to regain the legitimacy that he has lost through the brutal treatment of his own people. There is no question of the U.S. normalizing relations with his government soon,” he said.
“If there is to be a sustainable end to this conflict, the Syrian Government must change its behavior,” Spokesperson Price declared. In the
meantime, he said, “We will seek to support the humanitarian plight of the Syrian people as we seek a political settlement that would end their suffering.”