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Statement

IRC’s David Miliband responds to news of airstrikes in Syria

Last updated 

The latest comments on the airstrikes in Syria from David Miliband, CEO of the International Rescue Committee:

April 14, 2018:

"Last night’s limited military strikes raise two vital questions for long-suffering Syrian civilians, for the neighboring states hosting millions of refugees, and for the international community that has stood by while Syria has become a destabilizing force in global politics.  The first is whether it will deter further chemical weapons use.  The second is whether there is a broader gameplan to use political, economic and diplomatic means to stop the slaughter of Syrian civilians.

The use of chemical weapons breaches vital norms of war and are a grave threat to the people we serve.  But targeting of civilians and aid workers with conventional weapons also breaches those norms.  It is understandable when people say that they don’t want to get embroiled in Syria’s civil war.  But the foundation of the post world war 2 international order was not only the sovereignty of states.  It was also the rights of individuals.  And it is the second of those principles that is now under unprecedented duress.  

Last night’s strikes will become a historical footnote unless they are matched by a diplomatic offensive of sustained and serious character.  That must cover the support of neighboring states harboring refugees, as well as the protection of civilians inside Syria, where the war is ongoing, and the promotion of a political settlement, starting with a ceasefire to halt the killing.  Such a strategy is not just about deterrence and disablement - the focus of last night’s strikes.  It must be about peace building and peace making, with appropriate pressure on those engaged in the war to curb the Syrian destabilization not just of civilian lives but also of regional peace and security."

April 13, 2018:

“Now that the U.S., France and U.K. have decided on their reaction to the use of chemical weapons last weekend, the need for a diplomatic offensive is more imperative than ever.  Military action is only ever successful when it is part of a political strategy, for peace-making, humanitarian aid and regional security.  Bombing cannot substitute for diplomacy, nor can military reactions substitute for a peace plan. Syrian civilians need urgent humanitarian aid to relieve poverty, Syria’s neighbors need support for the refugees they are housing.”

Learn more

Isolated airstrikes won’t save Syrian lives: what Trump can do to help

 

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About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.