The World Reacts to Syrian Violence

May 30, 2012

Burial of victims killed by Syrian forces in Houla, Syria
Syrians bury tens of victims' bodies who were killed by Syrian forces as they attend their mass funeral in Houla, Syria, on May 26, 2012. ©

On Friday, the Syrian military brutally killed over 100 people in Houla, Syria.  Our sources tell us that the barrage of shells, mortars, rockets and raids on Friday left at least 108 dead, including 34 women and 50 children.

The horrifying violence has had geopolitical repercussions around the world:

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated, “The government bears the main responsibility for what is going on.”  It was a surprising departure from past statements by Russian officials that provided diplomatic cover for Syrian government violence.
  • Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood called on “Arab, Islamic and international governments … and the people of the free world to intervene to stop these massacres.”
  • And today, at least 10 nations expelled their Syrian ambassadors and senior Syrian diplomats — the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and the Netherlands.

The decision to send Syrian diplomats packing gave further voice to the global outrage at ongoing Syrian government violence.  Still, expulsion of diplomats and a reconfiguration of Russian rhetoric is not enough.  The UN Security Council must take a strong stand against the crimes against humanity being perpetrated by the Syrian government.

The violence in Syria has to be referred to the International Criminal Court immediately.  This means that the Russian Federation must do more than talk.  Together with China, they must drop their opposition to strong UN Security Council action now.