Syria: Tensions High at Geneva II
As Geneva II commences, leaders from all over the world are discussing the Geneva communique, a document laying out potential plans for political transition in Syria. But tensions are high at the conference, which marks the first face to face encounter with Assad’s regime and the main opposition, the National Coalition, in nearly three years.
On January 20, Church leaders from Syria as well as from the Middle East Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, and the Holy See released a statement urging participates at Geneva II “to pursue an immediate cessation of all armed confrontation and hostility within Syria.”
“We call on you to develop a comprehensive and inclusive process towards establishing a just peace and rebuilding Syria...Geneva II must be transformed into a peace-building process,” according to the statement. “All efforts must be made to secure the peace, territorial integrity and independence of Syria.”
But hopes for peace in Syria are at an all-time low. The death toll just passed 130,000 in the ongoing conflict.
With increasing evidence of torture by the Assad regime, some experts are saying that a case is building for charging Bashar Assad with crimes against humanity. David Crane, one expert reviewing the evidence, told the Associated Press that time will tell.
“What happens next will be a political and diplomatic decision,” he said.