Procedure : 2021/2576(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0179/2021

Texts tabled :

B9-0179/2021

Debates :

PV 09/03/2021 - 23
CRE 09/03/2021 - 23

Votes :

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2021)0088

<Date>{08/03/2021}8.3.2021</Date>
<NoDocSe>B9‑0179/2021</NoDocSe>
PDF 174kWORD 57k

<TitreType>MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION</TitreType>

<TitreSuite>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</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>


<Titre>on the Syrian conflict – 10 years after the uprising</Titre>

<DocRef>(2021/2576(RSP))</DocRef>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Nathalie Loiseau, Barry Andrews, Olivier Chastel, Engin Eroglu, Klemen Grošelj, Bernard Guetta, Moritz Körner, Javier Nart, Urmas Paet, Dragoș Pîslaru, Michal Šimečka, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Ramona Strugariu, Hilde Vautmans</Depute>

<Commission>{Renew}on behalf of the Renew Group</Commission>

</RepeatBlock-By>

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0177/2021

B9‑0179/2021

European Parliament resolution on the Syrian conflict – 10 years after the uprising

(2021/2576(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Syria, in particular that of 15 March 2018 on the situation in Syria[1], of 18 May 2017 on the EU strategy on Syria[2], of 4 July 2017 on addressing human rights violations in the context of war crimes, and crimes against humanity, including genocide[3], of 24 October 2019 on the Turkish military operation in northeast Syria and its consequences[4], of 10 July 2020 entitled ‘Council position on Draft amending budget No 5/2020 of the European Union for the financial year 2020 – Continuation of the support to refugees and host communities in response to the Syria crisis in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey’[5], and of 17 November 2011 entitled ‘EU support for the ICC: facing challenges and overcoming difficulties’[6],

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

 having regard to the previous statements of the UN Secretary-General on Syria,

 having regard to the previous statements of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, including those of February 2020 on humanitarian access in Idlib, of 26 September 2019 on Syria and of 9 October 2019 on developments in North-East Syria,

 having regard to the latest statement of the UN Special Envoy to Syria, Geir O. Pedersen, addressed to the UN Security Council (UNSC) on 22 January 2021,

 having regard to UNSC resolutions 2254 of 18 December 2015 on Syria, and 2533 of 11 July 2020 renewing the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing until 10 July 2021,

 having regard to the UNSC presidential statements reaffirming the UNSC’s strong support for the Chemical Weapons Convention,

 having regard to the monthly reports to the UN Secretary-General from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on progress in the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme,

 having regard to the 60-day report to the UN Secretary-General on the implementation of the humanitarian resolutions by all parties to the conflict in Syria,

 having regard to UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 71/248 of 21 December 2016 establishing the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in Syria since March 2011,

 having regard to the UN Human Rights Council reports published by the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria,

 having regard to the EU strategy on Syria adopted on 3 April 2017, and to the Council conclusions on the EU regional strategy for Syria and Iraq as well as the ISIL/Daesh threat adopted on 16 March 2015,

 having regard to Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2021/30 of 15 January 2021 implementing Decision 2013/255/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Syria[7], which added the new Syrian Foreign Affairs Minister to the EU sanctions list, and to the Council decisions on restrictive measures against Syria,

 having regard to UNSC sanctions freezing the funds of persons and entities associated with ISIL/Daesh and Al-Qaida, and to the relevant EU Council implementing decisions,

 having regard to the establishment in 2011 of the Secretariat of the EU Genocide Network for investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, hosted by Eurojust,

 having regard to Council Common Position 2003/444/CFSP of 16 June 2003 on the International Criminal Court[8], to its 2004 Action Plan for the ICC to achieve universal ratification and implementation, and to the revised EU Action Plan of 2011,

 having regard to the conclusions of the Brussels IV Conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region held on 30 June 2020,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas in late February 2011 Syrian children were arrested, detained and tortured in Deraa by the Syrian regime for writing graffiti critical of President Bashar Al-Assad on city walls; whereas on 15 March 2011 thousands of Syrians in Deraa and Damascus took to the streets in record numbers to demand democratic reforms, the release of political detainees, an end to torture, respect for human rights and the rule of law, the organisation of free and fair elections, and an end to corruption; whereas these popular protests spread across the country for several years, from major cities such as Homs, Hama, Idlib and popular neighbourhoods of Aleppo and Damascus, to smaller towns such as Al-Hasakah in the north-east and Kafr Nabl in the north-west;

B. whereas the Syrian uprising of 2011 was a demonstration of Syria’s ethnic and religious diversity, including leaders from all ethnic and religious groups and all provinces of the country;

C. whereas the Syrian regime responded to the legitimate democratic aspirations of its people with sheer brutality from the Syrian security forces and allied militias under its command; whereas according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, since March 2011 over 230 000 civilians have been killed, 88 % of whom by the Syrian regime, 3 % by Russian forces, 2 % by Daesh and 2 % by armed opposition groups; whereas over 15 000 civilians have been tortured to death, 99 % of whom in regime prisons; whereas over 150 000 civilians have since been forcibly disappeared and remain detained, 88 % of whom by the Syrian regime, 6 % by Daesh and 3 % by armed opposition groups; whereas over 29 500 children have been killed, 78 % of whom by the Syrian regime and Iranian militias, 7 % by Russian forces and 3 % by Daesh; whereas over 28 500 women have been killed, 77 % of whom by the Syrian regime, 6 % by Russian forces and 3 % by Daesh; whereas over 3 400 health care staff have since been forcibly disappeared or detained, 98 % of whom by the Syrian regime;

D. whereas the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons, Scud missiles, conventional artillery and air-dropped bombs, as well as barrel bombs, cluster bombs and incendiary bombs, on densely populated civilian neighbourhoods such as Homs, Hama and East Aleppo; whereas peaceful protesters who were injured by live fire from Syrian security forces were denied treatment and tortured to death in military hospitals and detention centres across the country, as evidenced by the Caesar report presented by France to the UNSC in May 2014; whereas families have been routinely prevented from burying their dead in cemeteries; whereas multiple massacres of hundreds of men, women and children in rural towns, such as that of May 2012 in Houla, have been part of the Syrian regime’s intimidation strategy against critical voices; whereas the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria reported on the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war by Syrian regime forces and their militias;

E. whereas the UN has established a series of initiatives through the mandate of its UN Special Envoys in order to reach a ceasefire between all groups, release detainees, guarantee humanitarian access to all parts of the country, protect journalists and NGOs and engage in an inclusive dialogue for a political solution to the conflict that ensued after 2011;

F. whereas Russia, supported by China, has vetoed 16 UNSC resolutions since 2011, including on a referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and on increasing humanitarian access; whereas Iran and Hezbollah have been directly involved in supporting the Syrian regime’s repression of civilians; whereas Russia has been devoting logistical, diplomatic and financial resources since 2015 to a large-scale military intervention by the Russian Air Force in support of the Syrian regime; whereas Turkey has been intervening directly in Syria since 2016 with a view to occupying the northern parts of the country, predominantly consisting of Syrian Kurdish enclaves;

G. whereas the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has repeatedly pointed to gross human rights violations in Syria, especially since 2011; whereas journalists, NGOs and independent international organisations such as the UN International Independent Committee of Inquiry on Syria have documented violations that amount to crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of torture and sexual violence;

H. whereas the EU and its Member States suspended diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime in 2012; whereas the EU closed its EU delegation in Damascus in December 2012, following the closure of Member State embassies in early 2012;

I. whereas the EU-Syria Association Agreement, signed in 2009, was suspended in 2011; whereas Syria’s membership to the Union for the Mediterranean was suspended;

J. whereas the EU was Syria’s largest trading partner before 2011; whereas the Council adopted sanctions on individuals and entities involved in the repression of civilians, which were adopted in 2011 and have since been expanded, in order to reach a negotiated political settlement; whereas these sanctions have humanitarian exemptions;

K. whereas the Syrian regime’s response to the uprising has led to the destruction of Syria’s economic and social fabric; whereas the collapse of the Syrian Pound has been amplified by the collapse of the Lebanese economy as of 2019, and the global economic repercussions related to the COVID-19 pandemic as of March 2020;

L. whereas Syria, under intense international pressure, signed and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in October 2013 after committing its largest chemical attacks to date on a civilian neighbourhood east of Damascus in Eastern Ghouta; whereas the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Investigation and Identification Team found the Syrian regime responsible for using chemical weapons on civilians multiple times since; whereas in July 2020 the OPCW Executive Council formally requested once again that the Syrian regime declare its chemical weapons facilities;

M. whereas as of early 2021, the conflict has resulted in almost 7 million refugees and more than 13 million people dependent on humanitarian aid in Syria, 6.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and over 3 million living in hard-to-reach besieged areas; whereas humanitarian access to all populations in need remains vital and 40 % of the Syrian population reside in non-government controlled areas; whereas in addition to general healthcare for the population, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how cross-border access into north-west and north-east Syria remains crucial;

N. whereas continuing attacks on health facilities have decimated Syria’s health system and left Syrians struggling to cope with the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 crisis;   whereas less than 64 % of hospitals and 52 % of primary healthcare centres across Syria are functioning; whereas 70 % of the health workforce has fled the country, according to the World Health Organization (WHO);

O. whereas regular attacks on healthcare facilities have been a hallmark of the Syrian conflict since its onset, in blatant violation of international humanitarian law;   whereas attacks even persisted in 2020 despite the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic; whereas over the past decade, international recognition of the systematic nature of attacks on healthcare in Syria has grown, but clear accountability has proven elusive; whereas UNSC resolution 2139, adopted in 2014, demands that all parties to the conflict respect the ‘principle of medical neutrality’, insisting ‘that all parties demilitarize medical facilities [ ...] and desist from attacks directed against civilian objects’; whereas specific measures for the protection of healthcare in conflict around the world were reinforced through the adoption of UNSC resolution 2286 in 2016; whereas the UN Secretary-General established an internal UN Board of Inquiry which examined a limited number of incidents in north-west Syria between September 2019 and April 2020;

P. whereas the Golan Heights are Syrian territory and have been occupied by the state of Israel since 1967;

Q. whereas all Member States have ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC as of 2009; whereas in 2011 the Council established the Secretariat of the EU Genocide Network for investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, hosted by Eurojust; whereas the EU strategy on Syria calls for the EU to promote accountability for war crimes committed in Syria, with a view to facilitating a national reconciliation process and transitional justice;

R. whereas a Joint Investigative Team (JIT) led by law enforcement and judicial authorities in France and Germany was launched in 2018 for the first time to facilitate the arrest and prosecution of Syrian war criminals following the publication of the Caesar report on the systematic starvation and torture of tens of thousands of women and men in Syria’s detention centres since 2011;

1. Conveys its support for the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people who, ten years ago on 15 March 2011, peacefully demonstrated for democratic reforms in Deraa, Damascus and the rest of the country; pays tribute to the 500 000 victims of the repression and conflict in Syria since the beginning of the popular uprising; believes that the future of Syria should rest in the hands of Syrians;

2. Expresses its deep concern over the political deadlock of the past ten years and commends the efforts of the UN Special Envoy, Geir O. Pedersen, to find a political solution to the conflict; shares the Special Envoy’s concerns over the lack of any progress; is equally concerned by the economic collapse and the disastrous humanitarian crisis affecting Syria;

3. Calls on Russia, Iran and Hezbollah to withdraw their troops from Syrian territory, who have operated outside of any UN mandate; deplores the role of Russia and Iran in backing the Syrian regime’s all-out repression of its civilian population, and their takeover of Syria’s political process and economic resources;

4. Calls on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Northern Syria which it is illegally occupying outside of any UN mandate; condemns Turkey’s illegal transfers of Kurdish Syrians from occupied Northern Syria to Turkey for detention and prosecution in violation of Turkey’s international obligations under the Geneva Conventions; is worried that Turkey’s ongoing displacements could amount to ethnic cleansing against the Syrian Kurdish population; stresses that Turkey’s intervention has weakened international efforts against Daesh; firmly condemns Turkey’s use of Syrian mercenaries in conflicts in Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, in violation of international law;

5. Expresses its support to UNSC resolution 2254 of 2015 establishing a Syrian-led constitutional reform process; deeply regrets the Syrian regime’s lack of engagement despite repeated engagement and readiness of Syrian opposition movements to negotiate with the Syrian regime in the drafting of a new Syrian constitution;

6. Opposes any normalisation of diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime as long as there is no fundamental progress on the ground in Syria, with clear, sustained and credible engagement in an inclusive political process; considers the upcoming 2021 Syrian Presidential elections to be lacking any form of credibility in the eyes of the international community in the current context;

7. Firmly believes in Syria’s religious and ethnic diversity; deplores the Syrian regime’s long-standing discriminatory actions against Kurdish Syrians; condemns the Syrian regime’s targeted attacks against critical voices of the Alawite community, such as European Parliament Sakharov Prize winner Ali Ferzat for his criticism of President Bashar Al Assad, as well as the Syrian regime’s attacks against 124 Christian churches, which was documented by the Syrian Network for Human Rights; firmly condemns the assassinations of religious minorities by Daesh, and particularly its crimes of genocide against Yazidis and people of the Shiite Muslim and Christian faiths in 2014-2018; deeply deplores the persecution of minorities under armed opposition groups;

8. Expresses its concern about the rising tensions in Iraqi Kurdistan, which has enjoyed more stability in recent years than Syria, and has provided a safe haven to Syrian refugees;

9. Reminds the international community of the gravity and the magnitude of human rights violations in Syria perpetrated by all parties to the conflict; points to the Syrian regime’s overwhelming responsibility for its decision to meet peaceful protests with all-out repression through unspeakable means; recalls the importance of the Caesar report and the confirmation, presented to the UNSC by France in 2014, of the credibility of the photos of the 11 000 identified prisoners who were starved and tortured to death in detention centres and military hospitals around Damascus between 2011 and 2013;

10. Firmly condemns the killing of 550 international and Syrian journalists by the Syrian regime and of dozens by Daesh and other armed groups; calls on the Syrian regime to immediately release from prison the 400 journalists it is holding in detention, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights;

11. Condemns in the strongest terms the use of rape as a weapon of war against women, whether by the Syrian regime and its militias as documented by the UN International Independent Committee, or by Daesh on Yazidi and Shiite women; recalls the role played by women in the 2011 uprising and the fundamental importance of including women at all levels of Syria’s political, economic, judicial power structures, including in transitional justice;

12. Firmly condemns attacks on humanitarian workers by all sides, especially by the Syrian regime and Daesh; points to the Syrian regime’s particular responsibility in the targeted killing of humanitarian workers since 2011, as well as Russia’s overwhelming responsibility, such as in its bombing of 21 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) field hospitals in October 2015;

13. Reiterates in the strongest terms its condemnation of Russian airstrikes killing a total of over 6 900 civilians including 2 000 children using cluster munitions, vacuum bombs and long-range missiles, targeting independent media centres, hospitals, humanitarian infrastructure including over 207 medical facilities, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, and Syrian civil defence units such as members from the White Helmets humanitarian organisation; denounces Russia’s attempts to tarnish the image of the White Helmets in Western media through an aggressive and sustained disinformation campaign on social media; condemns in the strongest terms the involvement of Russian warplanes in the Syrian regime’s chemical attacks, such as in the chemical massacre of Khan Sheikhoun of April 2017, after which Russian warplanes immediately bombed the only hospital where the victims were being treated; deplores Israeli attacks on Syrian territory;

14. Urges the Syrian regime to immediately release the 130 000 political prisoners unjustly detained, including women, men and children forcibly disappeared by Syrian security forces; firmly condemns the systematic use of torture, inhuman treatments and sexual violence in the horrendous conditions in which they are being held, without any access to a civilian court, a lawyer, medical care or their families; stresses that they are being denied their basic rights to a fair trial, including the withholding of information on their arrest and torture to extract bogus confessions; urges the Syrian authorities to without exception provide immediate and unhindered access to detention facilities for recognised international humanitarian NGOs and monitoring organisations without prior notification;

15. Reaffirms that the persons responsible for these crimes must be duly prosecuted, including by EU Member States in the absence of other international or national transitional justice processes; emphasises the key importance of resolving the issue of those detained and disappeared by all parties to the conflict as a fundamental part of any transitional process to achieve peace;

16. Welcomes the first ever sentencing of a Syrian regime security officer for complicity in crimes against humanity on 24 February 2021 at the court in Koblenz in Germany;

17. Firmly condemns Russia’s 16 UNSC vetoes, with the support of China, to referring Syria to the ICC; recalls that the International Criminal Court (ICC) should remain the primary jurisdiction for international justice for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression;

18. Stresses that Daesh is still active in the region and has not been defeated; expresses its concerns about the difficulties in preserving and obtaining access to evidence of crimes perpetrated by Daesh; calls on the EU and its Member States to support efforts on the ground to document and preserve evidence of those crimes; welcomes the prosecution of EU and non-EU nationals who joined Daesh;

19. Commends EU Member States’ efforts since 2019 to secure a broad international support to securing long-term funding within the UN general budget for the UN’s International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in Syria since March 2011 (IIIM);

20. Welcomes the Franco-German Joint Investigative Team (JIT) to support the prosecution of the crimes against humanity documented by the Caesar Report; welcomes the international arrest warrants issued by both countries in 2018 to arrest three high ranking security officials; commends the role played by local Syrian NGOs in verifying, documenting, gathering and protecting evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as the complementary role played by NGOs such as the Commission for International Accountability and Justice in assisting European law enforcement and judicial authorities in effectively prosecuting war criminals present on EU Member States territory; calls on the EU to provide more legal training to Syrians to enable them to play a role in the fight against impunity;

21. Calls on the Commission to present an EU action plan on impunity, with a specific chapter on Syria; stresses that this action plan should seek to better coordinate and harmonise Member States’ efforts and resources to prosecute war criminals in the EU; is of the view that transitional justice plays a fundamental role in securing peace in the long term;

22. Calls on the EU to launch a designated European fund for victims of crimes against humanity in Syria;

23. Urges Member States to improve coordination of judicial, police and immigration resources through the development of pooled jurisdictions in order to mutualise judicial competences across Member States and facilitate prosecution; stresses that better-equipped Member States should share their experts and interpreters in order to facilitate efficient and effective investigations, while each Member State should endeavour to appoint a designated prosecutor for these crimes in order to speed up judicial coordination efforts;

24. Calls on Member States to automatically share at EU level information on war criminal suspects under Article 1F of the Geneva Convention; is of the view that there also needs to be closer cooperation between immigration authorities and public prosecutors on suspected war criminals at national level;

25. Urges all EU Member States without exception to be fully cooperative in the fight against impunity; expresses its deep concern over certain Member States’ lack of cooperation in prosecuting Syrian war criminals;

26. Fully supports European efforts led by the Netherlands since September 2020 to launch legal proceedings against Syria at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for its violation of the UN Convention against Torture;

27. Calls on Member States to request the suspension of Syria’s membership to the OPCW for falsifying evidence of the use of chemical weapons at the upcoming spring 2021 OPCW conference; reiterates its shock at and condemnation of the Syrian regime’s 336 documented chemical attacks dropping chlorine gas, sarin and sulphur mustard gas on civilians;

28. Firmly condemns the Syrian regime’s new laws stripping Syrians living abroad of their private property; believes that this policy runs against Syria’s long-term interest in finding peace and national unity;

29. Expresses its profound concern at the ongoing suffering of the Syrian people, ten years after the conflict began; is particularly concerned that humanitarian needs in Syria have risen by a fifth in the last year alone, and that an additional 4.5 million Syrians now suffer from food insecurity, while 90 % live below the poverty line; considers that humanitarian access must remain a central priority for the EU in Syria, and that increased needs require an greater financial and political response from the EU; notes that UNSC 2533 on the border crossing at Bab al Hawa is coming up for renewal in July 2021; is of the opinion that cross-line delivery of humanitarian assistance cannot be relied upon to deliver for the people currently relying on cross-border delivery; recalls that 2.4 million[1] Syrians depend on this border crossing for survival. and that failure to extend this crossing for a minimum of 12 months would have severe and life threatening consequences; condemns the actions of UNSC members that have sought to limit humanitarian access for political purposes; urges all UNSC members to support the renewal of the cross border resolution in order to avoid a worsening humanitarian crisis and to ensure the expansion and support for cross-line interventions carried out in line with humanitarian principles; highlights the importance of ensuring an immediate reauthorisation of Bab al-Salam and Yarubiyah border crossing points in line with UNGA resolution 74/169 to ensure aid reaches populations in need in both the northwest and northeast through the most direct routes;

30. Calls on the international community to urgently address the record levels of humanitarian need of the Syrian people inside and outside Syria; encourages the EU as a convener of the Brussels V Syria pledging conference to rally other international donors towards increasing support to the health sector of the Syria Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) through increased, flexible, multi-year funding that covers population needs in the long term; calls on international donors to specifically invest in programmes that repair, restore and strengthen damaged or destroyed health facilities, in addition to other civilian infrastructures that have suffered damage;

31. Urges the UNSC to include explicit calls for the protection of health workers in forthcoming UN resolutions and official discussions; calls on EU Member States, in this regard, to offer political backing and operational support to UN-led accountability initiatives and investigations to uphold international humanitarian law;

32. Stresses, ahead of the Brussels V Donor Conference of March 29-30, the importance of not only maintaining humanitarian assistance pledges but increasing them for Syrians, IDPs and refugees, as well as for communities affected by the crisis in the region; points to the fact the EU and its Member States have been the largest humanitarian donors to respond to Syria’s humanitarian crisis, with donation since 2011 reaching EUR 20 billion; is deeply concerned about alleged UK Government plans to cut its aid contributions significantly, including reductions of 67 % for Syria and 88 % for Lebanon;

33. Commends the role played by neighbouring states in showing solidarity and affording assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq; urges EU Member States to continue to fund humanitarian assistance programmes in refugee host countries, IDPs in Syria; urges EU Member States to provide all necessary funding and support to ensure all Syrian refugee children in host countries have access not only to primary, but also to secondary education; urges all host countries to adopt all necessary measures to achieve this, and to remove any administrative or legislative obstacles; encourages host countries to focus on access to employment, health services and education, and civic documentation, which will promote the ability of refugees to work towards becoming self-reliant;

34. Calls on all Member States to support principled humanitarian assistance, without normalising relations with the Syrian regime; warns against investing EU financial assets whether directly or indirectly in Syria’s general reconstruction if the Syrian regime does not implement a credible political process; deplores Russian, Iranian, Chinese and Turkish business plans to profit from Syria’s destruction; strongly opposes any normalisation by any EU Member State; firmly condemns the visits of MEPs to the Syrian regime, and stresses that those MEPs do not represent the European Parliament;

35. Calls on Member States to maintain sanctions on individuals and entities involved in the repression in Syria; stresses the importance of avoiding any unintended negative consequences of sanctions through humanitarian exemptions for principled humanitarian action, and the importance of addressing banking over-compliance challenges jointly with the US;

36. Reminds all EU Member States that Syria is not a safe country to return to; believes that any return should be safe, voluntary, dignified and informed, in line with the EU’s stated position; calls on all EU Member States to refrain from shifting national policies towards depriving certain categories of Syrians from their protected status, and to reverse this trend if they have already applied such policies; urges Lebanon, Turkey and all countries in the region to suspend deportations of Syrians back to Syria against their will;

37. Expresses its deep concern over the deteriorating humanitarian, sanitary and security situation of camps such as Al Hol in Rojava in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria; believes it is necessary for all EU nationals detained in those camps be tried in a court of law; expresses its shock after the killing of an MSF employee working in Al Hol camp on 24 February 2021, further demonstrating the human toll of the violence and unsafe living conditions in the camp;

38. Calls on Member States to protect child nationals who may be detained for security-related offences or association with armed groups;

39. Calls on Member States to facilitate the child’s return to their country of origin for rehabilitation, reintegration and/or prosecution, as appropriate, in full compliance with international law;

40. Expresses its concern about the resurgence of Daesh in the North-East; commends the efforts of the international coalition against Daesh; stresses the importance of continued, long-term US engagement in the coalition;

41. 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 and the governments of the Member States.

[1] OJ C 162, 10.5.2019, p. 119.

[2] OJ C 307, 30.8.2018, p. 117.

[3] OJ C 334, 19.9.2018, p. 69.

[4] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0049.

[5] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0195.

[6] OJ C 153 E , 31.5.2013, p. 115.

[7] OJ L 12 I, 15.1.2021, p. 3.

[8] OJ L 150, 18.6.2003, p. 67.

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