The President Bashar al-Assad appeared on Syrian television describing his vision of a peace plan to stop ‘terrorist operations’ which have cost an estimated 60,000 Syrian lives so far.
In his speech, Assad said “Suffering is overwhelming Syrian land. There is no place for joy while security and stability are absent on the streets of our country.” He went on to say that he would not negotiate with people who have terrorist ideas and who are puppets of the West.
Assad called for citizens to defend Syria in any way they could stating “The nation is for all and we all must protect it.” He accused the rebels of cutting off electricity and medical supplies, and stealing wheat and depriving children of schooling.
The main points of Assad’s plan for steps towards peace include:
- Foreign powers to stop arming terrorist groups
- The Syrian army would then cease military action
- There could be a conference involving Syrian individuals and political parties to start a national dialogue
- The conference would try to establish a national charter that would be put to a referendum which would lead to elections and a new government
The rebel operation in Syria has been criticised on many fronts for being disorganised and brutal as they attempt to topple the Assad regime. Human Rights Watch has criticised the rebels for using children in combat situations, and other organisations have described how the rebels have terrorised civilians, being responsible for the deaths of many.
The West continues to push to arm these rebels, whose membership includes al-Qaida terrorist cells, and the US has already provided significant assistance through the CIA and arms shipments.
The West’s actions are questionable. If peace and any form of democracy is to be restored in Syria, military operations must stop, and the West has the power to make this happen. From there, diplomatic solutions can be considered. By stopping military actions at least the civilians of Syria, who are the ones who are suffering the most, will be fairly safe. The consequences of continuing military operations will be catastrophic.
Although Assad’s proposal may not be perfect, it is a start and needs to be given serious consideration.