Motion for a resolution - B8-0342/2017Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the EU Strategy on Syria

15.5.2017 - (2017/2654(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

Cristian Dan Preda, Arnaud Danjean, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Elmar Brok, Sandra Kalniete, David McAllister, Michael Gahler, Eduard Kukan, Tokia Saïfi, Tunne Kelam, Lorenzo Cesa, Dubravka Šuica, Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski on behalf of the PPE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0331/2017

Procedure : 2017/2654(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the EU Strategy on Syria


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Syria,

–  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 final communiqué of the Action Group for Syria (‘the Geneva Communiqué’) of 30 June 2012,

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions on Syria of 15 December 2016,

–  having regard to the Joint communication of 14 March 2017 by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Commission entitled ‘Elements for an EU Strategy for Syria’,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on Syria of 17 October 2016 and on an EU Strategy for Syria of 3 April 2017,

–  having regard to the Co-Chairs Declaration of 5 April 2017 on the Conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’,

–  having regard to the Statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) of 30 December 2016 on the announcement of a cessation of hostilities in Syria and of 23 March 2017 on Syria, and to the Declarations by the VP/HR on behalf of the EU of 9 December 2016 on the situation in Aleppo,, of 6 April 2017 on the alleged chemical attack in Idlib, Syria, and of 7 April 2017 on the US strike in Syria,

–  having regard to the reports of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic,

–  having regard to the United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCR) 2118 (2013), 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2199 (2015), 2254 (2015), 2258 (2015) and 2268 (2016),

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

A.  whereas the aim of the EU Strategy for Syria is to define how the EU can play a bigger role in contributing to a lasting political solution in Syria under the existing UN-agreed framework and to help build stability and support post-agreement reconstruction once a credible political transition is underway;

B.  whereas the EU Strategy for Syria is a review of the EU Regional Strategy for Syria and Iraq and of the Da’esh threat, and was last reviewed and updated by the Council on 23 May 2016;

C.  whereas since the outbreak of the war in 2011, the EU, together with its Member States, has mobilised more than EUR 9.4 billion in response to the Syrian crisis both within Syria and in the region, making it the largest donor;

D.  whereas on 5 April 2017 the VP/HR, the Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations and the Foreign Ministers of Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar and the United Kingdom chaired the ‘Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region’ in Brussels;

E.  whereas after six years of war 13.5 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance within Syria, including 6.3 million internally displaced; whereas 4.7 million Syrians are in hard-to-reach and besieged areas, and almost 5 million Syrian refugees are hosted by its neighbours and the wider region;

F.  whereas the almost daily violations of international humanitarian law, such as the continued deliberate attacks on civilian infrastructure, including water distribution systems, medical facilities and schools, have led to severe shortages of essential services;

G.  whereas on 4 April 2017 an attack was reported in the Khan Shaykhoun area of southern Idlib in Syria, with many victims displaying symptoms of gas poisoning; whereas the US informed the EU that, based on its assessment that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons, it launched a strike on the Al-Shayrat military airbase in Homs Governorate, Syria, with the intention of preventing and deterring the spread and use of chemical weapons;

H.  whereas on 12 April 2017 Russia rejected a UNSCR resolution that would have condemned the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria and called on the Syrian Government to cooperate with an investigation into the incident;

I.  whereas on 15 April 2017 some 5 000 evacuees were attacked in Rasheedin, Western Aleppo, Syria, while travelling from the besieged towns of Foah and Kefraya to government-controlled areas; whereas dozens of people, including children, were killed and many more injured;

J.  whereas Da’esh is terrifying residents in Raqqa Province, raising the spectre of the collapse of the Tabqa dam; whereas on 28 March 2017, Da’esh patrols with megaphones visited towns and communities to the west of Raqqa City and informed them that the dam was ‘almost certainly going to collapse’ as a consequence of the Global Coalition against Da’esh bombing;

K.  whereas the fourth round of intra-Syrian talks that were held in Geneva in February 2017 identified four baskets for future negotiations (governance, constitution, elections and counter-terrorism); whereas the fifth round of the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva was completed on 31 March 2017;

1.  Welcomes the EU Strategy for Syria, including the EU’s strategic goals on Syria and the EU’s objectives for Syria; underlines the fact that the continuation of the war in Syria could lead to either the division of the country along sectarian lines, which could further fuel violent extremism and terrorism, or the imposition of military control by the regime over the whole country;

2.  Believes that there can only be an end to the war through a political transition process, negotiated by the parties in conflict with the support of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria and key international and regional actors; supports the EU’s direct assistance to UN-brokered talks in Geneva, including in technical discussions that could advance political negotiations to end the war and define the parameters of a transitional governing body in line with UNSCR 2254 and the Geneva Communiqué;

3.  Underlines that the EU will maintain its support for a strong ‘Whole of Syria’ approach as the best way of addressing access constraints and delivering assistance to populations in need from all aid hubs;

4.  Stresses that under the ‘Whole of Syria’ approach, the EU will continue to provide resilience support throughout the country; notes that this support aims to maintain Syria’s human capital and the delivery of services, and to provide the means for people to remain in their homes in dignity or for internally-displaced persons to receive basic services, thus reducing migratory flows;

5.  Takes positive note that the participants of the Conference on ‘Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region’ acknowledged the continuing generosity of neighbouring host countries and their communities in providing refuge for millions of displaced people; stresses that the participants pledged EUR 5.6 billion for 2017 and multi-year pledges of EUR 3.47 billion for 2018-2020; underlines the fact that, in addition, some international financial institutions and donors have announced around EUR 27.9 billion in loans;

6.  Strongly condemns the continued systematic, widespread and gross violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law by all parties, particularly by the Syrian regime; calls for a full cessation of hostilities, the lifting of sieges and full, unhindered, sustainable and countrywide humanitarian access;

7.  Stresses that the starvation of civilians, used as a method of warfare through the besieging of populated areas and the forced displacement of populations may be tantamount to war crimes or crimes against humanity;

8.  Strongly condemns the attack in the Khan Shaykhoun area; supports the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is in the process of gathering and analysing information from all available sources on the alleged use of chemical weapons; notes that on 13 April 2017 the Director-General of the OPCW shared with the Executive Council the immediate steps taken by OPCW Technical Secretariat experts to analyse the available information and their preliminary assessment that the allegation was credible; deplores Russia’s decision to reject the UNSCR;

9.  Reiterates its call that those guilty of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity be held accountable and face the consequences; stresses that those committing crimes against religious, ethnic and other groups and minorities should also be brought to justice; remains convinced that there can be neither effective conflict resolution nor sustainable peace in Syria without accountability for the crimes committed;

10.  Demands respect by all for the right of ethnic and religious minorities in Syria, including Christians, to continue to live in their historical and traditional homelands in dignity, equality and safety, and to fully and freely practise their religion and beliefs without being subjected to any kind of coercion, violence or discrimination; supports interreligious dialogue in order to promote mutual understanding and counter fundamentalism;

11.  Supports the efforts of the Global Coalition against Da’esh; notes that by engaging in fearmongering towards residents in Raqqa Province, Da’esh hopes to put pressure on the Coalition to de-escalate its air campaign against the group; underlines the fact that Da’esh still makes most of its revenue from fines and taxes levied on its residents;

12.  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 Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, the members of the International Syria Support Group and all the parties involved in the conflict.