Friends Of Syria is a collective group of countries that have come together to discuss the topic of Syria. This group is completely separate from the UN and was created by president Barack Obama. Over 88 countries have attended the Friends of Syria conferences, ranging from Albania to Urguay. The main goal of his group is to support Syria in their fight to freedom and democracy.
Over the past year, more than 16,000 citizens have been victim to the repression and violence in Syria. Currently the platform of Friends of Syria is to withdraw forces from urban areas, release all political prisoners and grant humanitarian rights to all.
During the last conference in Paris, the participants heard speeches from Syrian Activists, who shared life-threatening stories about their experiences speaking out against the Syrian government. Also The League of Arab States presented a detailed transitional plan, which hopes to instill the universal rights of all people and all communities, regardless of ethnicity, belief or gender. Together Syria and Friends of Syria plan to meet all of its economic, financial and social challenges. Not only are the people within Syria making plans for change, but over 88 countries internationally are as well.
Although Syria has incredible support from the international community, Russia and China are a different story. The two countries were no shows at the last meeting in Paris. Many of the Friends of Syria participants were upset with the lack of concern China and Russia showed on the issue. Bill Clinton even made a public statement addressing their absence.
“The only way that will change (the Assad Regime) is if every nation represented here directly and urgently makes it clear that Russia and China will pay a price because they are holding up progress – blockading it – [and] that is no longer tolerable.”
China and Russia stated at a Geneva Conference last week that Syrians must decide how the transition should occur. They feel that the Syrians should dictate their own faith, and did not seem opposed to the Assad Regime. Although there are a few unsupportive countries on the issue, Syria has most of the worlds support and is ready for a revolution.
The participants of Friends of Syria have made the following commitments to the people of Syria; a stronger UN Security Council, a promise that the perpetrators of crime will not go unpunished, that the democratic opposition and local solidarity networks will be more actively supported, that humanitarian assistance for the population will be strengthened, and that the international community will stand by the Syrian people as their country is rebuilt (Diplomatie 2).
There is much hope for the future of Syria, and the participants of Friends of Syria are not going to give up until a change is made. The date of the next Friends of Syria conference is TBA, but both Morocco and Italy have expressed their eagerness in hosting it. Do you think that Friends of Syria has potential to make a change? Why do you think that China and Russia are so reluctant to support Syria?
Sources: Wikipedia.com, Diplomatie.gov, and Aljazeera.com
In-depth Syrian Coverage: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/syria/