CAAT wants to see the emergence of a democratic and peaceful Syria and supports diplomatic, political and other non-violent moves to protect civilians, for a de-escalation of the conflict and for negotiations for a positive outcome.

CAAT had opposed any relaxation of the arms embargo with regards to any of the parties in the conflict in Syria for several reasons.

  • Military-focused responses undermine efforts to negotiate a solution and to protect civilians.
  • Anti-Assad forces are largely an unknown quantity, consisting of many different groups, including those of a highly sectarian nature. At this stage it is impossible to say what power structures will emerge on either side or what form future governing bodies will take. Supplying arms to any group will increase future instability.
  • Syria is already awash with weaponry. Any further weaponry would most likely prolong the conflict and reduce the chances of a peaceful outcome.
  • Arming rebel and opposition groups will have unforeseen long-term consequences for Syria and the region.

The UK Government should:

  • reinstate the arms embargo on all sides in the conflict in Syria
  • ensure no weaponry supplied to third countries, such as Saudi Arabia, is sent on to any faction within Syria
  • place pressure on countries giving military support to anti-Assad militias, overtly or covertly, to end such support and supplies
  • place pressure on Russia and other supplier countries to stop supplying weapons to the Syrian government, and to end any official UK government relationship with Rosoboronexport and other agencies that supplies arms to Assad
  • give all possible support to a negotiated solution to the conflict
  • pledge greater resources for humanitarian assistance to refugees and displaced people.

Background to the Syrian conflict

Page updated 6 June 2013
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