Press Conference, 11.30am, TODAY, Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin

An Irish response to the Syrian East Ghouta Humanitarian Crisis

Joan Collins T.D, Senator Ivana Bacik, Ibrahim Halawa, Irish Anti-war Movement (IAWM), Irish Syria Solidarity Movement (ISSM)

(Contributions will also be made by two displaced Syrians living in Ireland and representatives from humanitarian groups working on the ground in Syria)

THE IRISH Anti-war Movement is participating in this Press Conference this morning.

As noted in our Press Release on 21st February the IAWM totally condemns the indiscriminate bombing of Eastern Ghouta by the Assad and Russian forces. The ceasefire agreed at the UN has already been broken and civilians are again suffering terrible injuries and worse.

While responding to these horrific crimes the IAWM regards the conflict within a wider cotext.

Despite the initial peaceful protests by civilians in 2011 that were brutally suppressed by the Assad regime, the Syrian conflict has long since become a proxy war between world and regional powers with the Syrian people caught in the middle.

The obvious players of Russia, Iran and Hezzbollah support the Assad Regime. The US and Britain have thousands of military advisors in Syria for many years and have flooded the region with weaponry some of which most likely has made it into the hands of dubious rebel groups via the conduits of the west’s regional proxies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. America and Britain has also bombed Syria, in one case killing 69 Syrian soldiers during a ceasefire. Israel, a western ally, has recently bombed Syria while Turkey has invaded the northern region of Afrin.

Thus in addition to the appalling crimes of the Assad regime, Syria has become a massive military playground for numerous foreign forces seeking a stake in the country. This just foments the conflict further.

Meanwhile EU Governments including the Irish Government show applaing disregard for the needs of refugees. If there is one way that help can be given in times of war it is to reach out to refugees. Instead Fortress Europe has closed its doors.

The IAWM condemns the silence of the Irish Government on this appaling conflict. It calls on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to make a statement on Syria and to summon all the Ambassadors of the belligerent countries / groups to tell them that the Irish people do not support this war and that it must stop now.

All arm’s sales to the region must cease and all foreign forces must withdraw their forces from Syria. There is no military solution to this conflict. Syrian civil society alone must be allowed to determine the future of Syria.

In the interim a massive UN-led humanitarian effort is needed to assist the Syrian people, particularly in Eastern Ghouta.

info contact:

John Molyneux, Secretary Steering Committee IAWM: Tel. 085 7356424
Jim Roche, PRO Steering Committee IAWM: Tel. 087 6472737