Procedure : 2018/2626(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0143/2018

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 15/03/2018 - 10.12

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0139/2018

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the situation in Syria (2018/2626(RSP))

Charles Tannock, Karol Karski, Monica Macovei, Ruža Tomašić, Raffaele Fitto, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner, Ryszard Czarnecki, Urszula Krupa, Jan Zahradil, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Branislav Škripek, Valdemar Tomaševski on behalf of the ECR Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Syria (2018/2626(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Syria,

–  having regard to the EU Strategy on Syria, adopted by the Council on 3 April 2017,

–  having regard to the UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, in particular Resolutions 2254 (2015) and 2401 (2018),

–  having regard to the Council decisions on EU restrictive measures against those responsible for violent repression in Syria, including those of 14 November 2016(1), 20 March 2017(2) and 26 February 2018(3),

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the additional protocols thereto,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989, and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict of 2000,

–  having regard to the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief of 1981,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 9 December 1948,

–  having regard to the Geneva Communiqué of June 2012,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the ‘Supporting Syria and the Region’ conference held in London in February 2016,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’ conference held in Brussels on 4 and 5 April 2017, and to previous conferences on the situation in Syria, held in Kuwait, Berlin and Helsinki,

–  having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,

–  having regard to the Memorandum on the creation of de-escalation areas in the Syrian Arab Republic, signed by Iran, Russia and Turkey on 6 May 2017,


–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,


A.  whereas the war in Syria is now well into its seventh year, with the conflict causing the death of more than 400 000 people and injury to thousands more, and with 13.5 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and five million people living as refugees in neighbouring countries;

B.  whereas the war has gradually drawn in regional and global powers, exposed deep divisions and threatened wider regional and international security;

C.  whereas despite numerous efforts, including via the United Nations, the international community has repeatedly failed to find a sustainable, peaceful solution to end the war, properly address the dire humanitarian situation and bring individuals guilty of attacks against civilians to justice;

D.  whereas Russia is one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s most important international backers, and the survival of the regime is critical to maintaining Russian interests in the country; whereas Russia has vetoed numerous resolutions critical of President Assad at the UN Security Council and continues to provide military support to the Syrian regime despite international condemnation;

E.  whereas on 24 February 2018 the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2401 demanding all parties to the conflict to cease hostilities for at least 30 consecutive days to allow for humanitarian aid deliveries and medical evacuation of the critically sick and wounded in the eastern Ghouta area near Damascus; whereas, despite the pause, shelling and airstrikes have continued;

F.  whereas at least 541 people have been killed since the attacks on eastern Ghouta intensified last month; whereas some 393 000 civilians are said to be trapped in the area, which has been besieged by the Syrian Government since 2013; whereas barrel bombs and shells have reportedly been dropped in the region, and several hospitals have been put out of action;

G.  whereas the Syrian Government has denied that it is targeting civilians and claims that it is trying to liberate eastern Ghouta from ‘terrorists’;

H.  whereas the Syrian Government has tightened its siege on eastern Ghouta since November 2017, leading to dwindling food supplies and resulting in the acute malnourishment of around 12 % of the children aged under five trapped in the area; whereas there is also a severe shortage of medical supplies, with doctors forced to treat severely injured patients without general anaesthetic drugs, intravenous antibiotics, blood bags or clean bandages; whereas humanitarian organisations say they need to be sure that any declared truce is taking effect on the ground before they can send in aid workers, vehicles and supplies;

I.  whereas in 2016 the Syrian regime denied humanitarian assistance to an estimated 275 000 civilians in eastern Aleppo, thereby failing to take action to protect the fundamental human right to life;

I.  whereas armed opposition groups, including Islamic State / Daesh, have also shelled civilian areas indiscriminately, used civilians as human shields and subjected predominantly civilian areas to prolonged sieges, thereby restricting access to humanitarian and medical aid;

J.  whereas Syria is signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention and had agreed to have its declared chemical weapons stockpile destroyed in 2013, after a sarin nerve agent attack killed hundreds of people in rebel-held suburbs of Damascus; whereas the Syrian regime has been accused of using banned chemical weapons in the civil war repeatedly since 2013; whereas, according to a new UN report, North Korea has been sending equipment to Syria that could be used to make chemical weapons;

K.  whereas the use of torture, mass arrests and widespread destruction of populated areas has escalated dramatically over the past seven years, with large numbers of Syrians displaced and many forced to move further away from much-needed humanitarian assistance;

L.  whereas there can be no military solution to the conflict in Syria, and no meaningful or successful peace agreement that sees President Bashar al-Assad remain in power;

M.  whereas the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, signed and ratified by all EU Member States, affirms that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, in particular genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, must not go unpunished;

N.  whereas international humanitarian and human rights law prohibits the targeting of individuals or groups based on religious or ethnic identity, as well as attacks against civilians not taking part in hostilities and individuals bringing humanitarian aid to those trapped by the conflict; whereas such actions may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity;

O.  whereas Syrian security forces have arrested, and continue to detain, tens of thousands of people, including peaceful activists, humanitarian workers, lawyers and journalists, subjecting many to enforced disappearances, torture or other ill treatment, and causing deaths in detention facilities.

P.  whereas Syria was suspended from the Arab League in 2011 because of its failure to end the bloodshed in the country;

1.  Condemns unreservedly the indiscriminate attacks on civilians and infrastructure by Syrian government forces and its allies, including Russia, not least by means of aerial bombing and artillery bombing, barrel bombs, cluster munitions and chemical and other internationally banned weapons;

2.  Deplores the fact that more than 400 000 people have been killed, and thousands more injured, by bombing, shelling and other military means in Syria during seven years of conflict, and that millions have been displaced, with civilians denied access to food, water, sanitation and healthcare as a consequence of lengthy sieges of densely populated areas;

3.  Believes that the deliberate targeting of civilians, the organised use of torture and sexual violence, deprivation of humanitarian aid and the use of incendiary and other munitions against civilian targets and infrastructure constitute war crimes;

4.  Demands that the bombing of, and the indiscriminate attacks on, civilians, aid workers and medical facilities in Syria be brought an immediate end in order to allow the evacuation of the most urgent medical cases from eastern Ghouta and other besieged areas such as Yarmouk, Foua and Kefraya; insists that all parties cease depriving civilians of essential food and medicine, such acts being in contravention of international law;

5.  Reminds all parties to the conflict that hospital and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law, and that the deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure constitute war crimes;

6.  Deeply regrets the failure of repeated regional and international attempts to end the war, and urges renewed and intensive global cooperation to achieve a peaceful and sustainable solution to the conflict;

7.  Deeply regrets Russia’s vetoing of numerous UN Security Council resolutions aimed at ending the conflict in Syria, and its support of the Assad regime, which is primarily responsible for indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure;

8.  Calls on Russia and Iran in particular to use their influence to convince President Bashar al-Assad and other parties to the conflict to abandon their military operations and immediately engage in a UN-led peace process;

9.  Rejects any role for President Bashar al-Assad in post-conflict Syria;

10.  Supports the prosecution before the International Criminal Court of those individuals accused of indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations, of the deliberate withholding of humanitarian aid from those starving to death, of the use of chemical weapons against innocent people and of organising the use of torture and sexual violence, and pledges to continue to work for accountability in Syria;

11.  Supports UN General Assembly Resolution 71/248, adopted in December 2016, which calls for a new mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those in Syria responsible for the most serious crimes under international law; supports, furthermore, the UN Human Rights Council resolutions calling for the establishment of a high-level panel on arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances;

12.  Remains committed to the unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Syria;

13.  Fully supports the work of the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, in seeking to secure international agreement on a sustainable peace settlement;

14.  Regrets the failure of the Arab League to use its influence with parties to the conflict in Syria in order to achieve a lasting and peaceful resolution to the conflict;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the UN Secretary General, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, the Government and Parliament of the Syrian Arab Republic, the governments and parliaments of Syria’s neighbouring countries and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


OJ L 305I, 14.11.2016, p. 4.


OJ L 75, 21.3.2017, p. 24.


OJ L 54I, 26.2.2018, p. 8.

Last updated: 13 March 2018Legal notice