The Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisation (Mapim) registers its sadness as the Syrian conflict enters its fifth year. A crisis which began as an anti-government rally on March 15, 2011, has now turned into doomsday for millions of its people.
More than 220,000 people that have been killed, leaving Syria as the most devastated war-torn nation. Half of the country’s population is displaced and the country is divided between Bashar Al-Assad’s army and rebel groups.Around four million people have fled abroad, with a million and a half taking refuge in neighbouring Lebanon.
Mapim is astonished by the fact that while the world has at its disposal every facility to stop the bloodshed, it has however failed Syria and allowed it to descend into a totally destroyed nation.
The use of barrel bombs by the goverment forces has escalated the conflict into what seems to be a genocide by the government on its own people, which is beyond imagination.
The world is now witnessing an unprecedented scale of killings never seen before. The now fifth year of unstoppable killings and deadly bombings has been allowed to persist when the counter external forces is met with a challenge of its own making ,the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
Kilings and bombing by goverment warplanes striking residential areas and schools has become a normal scene, which the media is struggling to get to the attention of the world.
Now Syria has been carved up by government forces, armed groups, Kurdish fighters and other rebel groups. The situation is being witnessed by the world community on a daily basis, but sadly they are unwilling to stop the brutality of the war.
Diplomatic efforts seem ineffective. Local ceasefires failed.
From an anti-government uprising March 15, 2011, inspired by similar revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, the scene was forced to turn into a full-fledged military conflict which descended further into Syria being broken into pieces. The devastation seems to go deeper, not only physically but also affecting the whole configuration of the populace of Syria. A despair of “no hope” has besieged the minds and soul of the people. A sense of lost faith in the international community.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR says Syria is now “the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era”. The UN says around 60 percent of the population now lives in poverty. It is a nation that has decimated its infrastructure back to some 30 years.
It is completely unccetable, while the world remains actionless, that lives in Syria are annihiliated by the thousands. Torture and detentions as reported by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is adding to the complexity of the crisis. About 13,000 people had been tortured to death in government detention since the uprising began and tens of thousands more remain in regime jails and detention facilities, with many effectively disappearing after their arrest.
Allegations that the ruling regime used chemical weapons against its own people in August 2013 are most disturbing and the investigation still remains elusive.
Talks should never cease
We register our stand that while there is little prospect of a peaceful resolution of the conflict , continous effort must prevail. The rounds of UN-sponsored talks should never cease.
We urge all external powers to stop arming the conflicting forces to assure that the weapons are not targeting each other at the expense of the civilians.
Our demand to the world agencies:
1. The UN Security Council must mandate a peace keeping force to be deployed into Syria.
2. Talks for a peacful transition of power from Bashar must be continued until a ceasefire is achieved to stop the atrocities.
3. Major actors directly involved in the crisis must be brought to the negotiating table to come up with an amicable solution.
4. All humanitarian agencies must be protected to deliver aid to the victims in Syria.
5. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) must play a moderating role to make sure all conflicting parties formulate a workable and acceptable solution.
MOHD AZMI ABDUL HAMID is the president of the Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organisation (Mapim).