Motion for a resolution - B8-1249/2016Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Syria

21.11.2016 - (2016/2933(RSP))

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

Charles Tannock, Geoffrey Van Orden, Angel Dzhambazki, Branislav Škripek, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Ryszard Czarnecki, Tomasz Piotr Poręba, Karol Karski, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Ruža Tomašić, Raffaele Fitto, Jana Žitňanská, Valdemar Tomaševski, Zdzisław Krasnodębski on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-1249/2016

Procedure : 2016/2933(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the situation in Syria


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Syria, in particular that of 6 October 2016[1],

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

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

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

–  having regard to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989, and the Optional Protocol thereto 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 Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 9 December 1948,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the London Syria Conference of February 2016,

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

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, in particular resolution 2254 (2015),

–  having regard to the joint statement of 2 October 2016 by Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Christos Stylianides on the situation in Aleppo,

–  having regard to the meeting of Foreign Ministers in London on 16 October 2016,

–  having regard to the Council Decisions on EU restrictive measures against those responsible for violent repression in Syria, including that of 14 November 2016,

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

A.  whereas six years of conflict, extreme violence and brutality in Syria have led to the deaths of more than 400 000 people, with more than 13 million people in need humanitarian assistance;

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

C.  whereas Syria’s education, health and social welfare systems are in a state of collapse as a consequence of the bloody conflict;

D.  whereas since the start of the conflict life expectancy in Syria has dropped by an estimated 15 years, almost half of all children no longer attend school, half of all hospitals have been partially or totally destroyed, the total economic loss is equivalent to 468 % of the country’s GDP in 2010, and four in every five Syrians are now living in poverty – 30% of them in abject poverty;

E.  whereas a UN report of March 2015 estimated that the total economic loss since the start of the conflict was USD 202 billion;

F.  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 resolutions critical of President al‑Assad at the UN Security Council and continues to provide military support to the Syrian regime despite international criticism;

G.  whereas Iran is also believed to be providing significant military and financial support in order to prop up the Assad regime and protect its own regional interests;

H.  whereas international humanitarian and human rights laws prohibit the targeting of individuals or groups based on religious or ethnic identity, and 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;

I.  whereas, on 19 September 2016, at least 18 of 31 lorries in a convoy delivering humanitarian aid to 78 000 people in rebel-held areas of Aleppo were hit by an air strike, killing at least 12 people; whereas such attacks threaten the safe delivery of humanitarian aid elsewhere in Syria;

J.  whereas the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, signed and ratified by all the 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;

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

L.  whereas, on 14 November 2016, the Council agreed to add 17 ministers and the Governor of the Central Bank of Syria to the list of those being targeted by EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime;

1.  Condemns the indiscriminate suffering of innocent civilians due to bombing, shelling and other military actions, as well as to the deprivation of humanitarian aid, and believes the use of incendiary and other munitions against civilian targets and infrastructure equate to war crimes;

2.  Demands an immediate end to bombing and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, aid workers and medical facilities in order to allow the evacuation of the most urgent medical cases from Aleppo and other besieged areas, and to facilitate urgent and meaningful talks aimed at securing peace in Syria;

3.  Praises the efforts of humanitarian aid workers in seeking to bring much-needed relief, food, water and medicines to those trapped by the conflict, and urges all sides involved in the conflict to ensure safe, unfettered access for humanitarian agencies to those civilians affected by the war;

4.  Condemns unreservedly the air strike against a convoy of aid trucks near Aleppo on 19 September 2016 and mourns the loss of all those killed; further demands a thorough investigation into the air strike and believes such acts undermine efforts to bring the conflict to a peaceful conclusion;

5.  Underlines the urgent need for focused international and regional efforts to solve the Syrian crisis; continues to urge all members of the UN Security Council to honour their responsibilities with regard to the crisis; urges all countries active in promoting a solution to the crisis to support these efforts; further condemns Russia for vetoing numerous UN Security Council resolutions on the conflict in Syria;

6.  Expresses grave concern at reports that despite the destruction of Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile there appears to be a resurgence of chlorine gas attacks in Idlib and Aleppo;

7.  Supports prosecution in 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;

8.  Strongly urges the EU and its Member States to expand the sanctions regime to cover more people and entities responsible for human rights violations in Syria;

9.  Demands that Russia use its influence on the Assad regime to end all attacks on civilians in Syria;

10.  Urges the resumption of political negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva as swiftly as possible in order to end the conflict and ease the suffering of the Syrian people; deeply regrets, in this regard, the collapse of talks between the United States and Russia aimed at resolving the conflict, and encourages both sides to resume negotiations as quickly as possible;

11.  Praises the generosity of those countries neighbouring Syria in providing refuge for all those fleeing the conflict; further welcomes the support of the EU, its Member States and third countries in mobilising funds for urgently needed humanitarian support;

12.  Recognises the significant strain the war has placed on the communities and finances of Syria’s neighbours and further encourages the international community to fulfil the commitments made at the Supporting Syria conference in London in February 2016 in providing support to those affected by the war;

13.  Praises the work of the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, and of all those committed to securing a lasting, peaceful solution to the current crisis;

14.  Strongly encourages the Council, and the international community more widely, to continue to impose the toughest possible sanctions against all those responsible for the violent repression of the civilian population in Syria, and against those benefiting from or supporting the regime, and/or being associated with such persons; further notes that the Council decision of 14 November 2016 brings to 234 the total number of persons subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze for their violent repression of the civilian population in Syria;

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 governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, the Government and Parliament of the Syrian Arab Republic, and the governments and parliaments of Syria’s neighbouring countries.