For over a year, Syria has continued to be a horrific display of human rights abuses perpetrated by the Syrian government led by Bashar al- Assad. The atrocities began in March 2011 when Syrian citizens peacefully protested, demanding democracy and freedom. The violence continues today with government forces shooting unarmed civilians and the military is shelling towns with tanks and artillery inside Syria. The United Nations has reported that over 9,000 Syrians have been killed by military forces, and some 14,000 detained by the authorities.
Most recently, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to withdraw military troops from towns on Tuesday, April 10. Although he has assured the United Nations that government forces will adhere to the deadline, the international community remains skeptical and rebels are claiming this is a trick to consolidate gains.
Mr. Assad and his regime have failed to honour commitments to peace in the past. His agreement to withdraw military troops from towns is subject to a clause: permission to respond to “attacks” on government troops. Based on past behaviour, this is a clause he will likely employ by responding to the smallest of anti-government incidents (such as protests) or by even fabricating false reports of violence against the military.
Will Canada be ready to defend the rights of the Syrian people if Mr. Assad’s regime resumes the violence? Join us as we stand with Syrian citizens in support of democracy and freedom. Our government must play a role in ending these crimes against humanity and bring President al-Assad to justice. Please tell Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird that you are concerned about the plight of the Syrian people and that you think our government needs to become a more active participant to help stop the violence.
You can learn more about the conflict in Syria here.
Fai Hassan is a Director on the STAND Canada team.