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Statement: An Alternative Response to the Syrian Crisis

Statement: An Alternative Response to the Syrian Crisis

  1. While the war in Syria has led to a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions, we support retired ADF General Peter Gration’s view that Australia should not participate with the U.S. and its allies in bombing raids in Syria.
  2. Like retired General Gration, we are aware of the civilian casualties that almost inevitably occur when action is taken to disarm terrorists, such as ISIS insurgents, who terrorize communities.
  3. We support a settlement of the conflict in Syria based on UNSC resolutions.
  4. We abhor the sowing of hatred between people of different faiths. Such hatred contributes to the killing fields in Syria.
  5. We call for non-partisan, balanced reporting on the Syrian conflict by journalists and NGOs which includes rigorous investigation of all claims of torture, massacres or atrocities.
  6. We are concerned that unverified claims could incite extremist ideological responses and some young Australians may embrace a violent response to the war in Syria which could impact on our own communities for years to come.
  7. We note a scientific report by MIT Professor Theodore Postol and Richard Lloyd (a former UN weapons inspector) casts serious doubt on oft-repeated claims that the Syrian government was responsible for an alleged chemical weapons attack on 21 August 2013. We urge all concerned Australians to seek well-researched reports on the war and to challenge partisan reports that may prolong the war and terror.
  8. We call for a robust and fearless discussion in the Australian Parliament and in our mainstream media which focuses on a search for the truth, on peace and reconciliation efforts, and on an end to foreign interference in the war in Syria. We urge everyone to respect the capacity of Syrians to end the conflict themselves.
  9. We urge Australians to listen to the voices of Syrians who believe in peaceful political change, as Australian citizens do, and we note and celebrate the freedoms Syrian women and people of all faiths have enjoyed in Syria.
  10. We strongly support a humanitarian response to the Syrian refugee crisis concurrent with actions that can lead to the end of the conflict so Syrians can return to their communities to rebuild their lives.

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