After two and a half years, the question of Syria continues to linger unanswered by the international community.
January 2014 saw the first potential peace talks between the Syrian government and the National Coalition: one of the biggest steps forward during the entirety of the crisis, as both sides were speaking to each other directly for the first time.
Geneva 2 was inspired by the Geneva communique which called for bringing about “an end to the violence and human rights abuses.” It urged the “launch of a Syrian-led political process leading to a transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.”
A huge problem is seen in the different demands each opposing sides have. The government has labelled the opposition as terrorists, legitimizing their actions against them. On the other hand, the opposition call for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad.
The leader of the National Coalition has acknowledged the potential these peace talks may have, explaining to the BBC that “today they [the government] had to listen to us and to the voice of the Syrian people.” Never before have these channels been available.
Despite these contradictory beliefs both groups discussed ceasefires, prisoner exchanges, and allowing humanitarian aid to reach those in dire need and finally, the removal of the president.
A Step Forward
The Geneva conference has seen some steps towards settlements. The Deputy Foreign Minister of the Assad government announced that the government would be willing to aid women and children in need who wish to leave Homs if the rebels allowed those displaced to pass. UN mediator for the talks, Lakhdar Brahimi, has highlighted the lack of progress to the BBC, despite this decision made by the government. Nonetheless, he reassured, “there is still hope.”
THIMUN Qatar – GA3 & The Security Council
On Thursday, GA3 had a guest speaker who explained conditions in Jordan where there are over 600,000 Syrian refugees. Mr. Robert Maroni is the Jordan Country Director and Regional Program Advisor for the Mercy Corps: an organization which provides necessities for the refugees in Jordan. They have provided necessities from basics like water to promoting individual developments though computing classes.
The debate in the Security Council also recognized the issue of refugees. For instance, Rwanda puts forward a clause to create a “Syrian refugee fund” whereby member states would provide aid including “non-perishable goods, materials for shelter, [and] financial aid to humanitarian groups operating in Syria.” This clause was passed with 14 votes.
Despite this success, the question of intervention continues to linger at THIMUN Qatar as it has in Geneva.
The delegate of Azerbaijan is against a clause put forth by Pakistan which “demands all military action to be postponed”. The delegate of Azerbaijan has announced that the Assad “government has lost its legitimacy” and that “time for caution is over. It is three years overdue.” Any halts to military intervention “risks us lending legitimacy to a dictator” who is “regaining territory by the hour.”
China opposes Azerbaijan completely. “We want all mention of military intervention off the table. China maintains that the only viable solution is a diplomatic solution and not a military one.”
Will there ever be an answer to this ongoing question of Syria?
By Caroline Nunn
Photo By Upendo Kissai