G-8 Camp David Final Communique: Statement on Syria
1. We, the Leaders of the Group of Eight, met at Camp David on May 18 and 19, 2012 to address major global economic and political challenges.
31. We remain appalled by the loss of life, humanitarian crisis, and serious and widespread human rights abuses in Syria. The Syrian government and all parties must immediately and fully adhere to commitments to implement the six-point plan of UN and Arab League Joint Special Envoy (JSE) Kofi Annan, including immediately ceasing all violence so as to enable a Syrian-led, inclusive political transition leading to a democratic, plural political system. We support the efforts of JSE Annan and look forward to seeing his evaluation, during his forthcoming report to the UN Security Council, of the prospects for beginning this political transition process in the near-term. Use of force endangering the lives of civilians must cease. We call on the Syrian government to grant safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel to populations in need of assistance in accordance with international law. We welcome the deployment of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, and urge all parties, in particular the Syrian government, to fully cooperate with the mission. We strongly condemn recent terrorist attacks in Syria. We remain deeply concerned about the threat to regional peace and security and humanitarian despair caused by the crisis and remain resolved to consider further UN measures as appropriate.
–Camp David Declaration, The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, May 19, 2012.
For quotes from President Obama at the G-8 summit relating to Syria, Russian statements affirming their position had been adopted, and commentary, see
The Trenchant Observer, “Obama clueless on Syria? G-8 endorses UN 6-point peace plan—Obama’s Debacle in Syria—Update #39 (May 21),” May 21, 2012.
Latest New Reports and Opinion
Syrian forces have resumed their attack on Rastan. AFP reports,
Soldiers were trying to overrun Rastan for the second time in 10 days, with shells crashing into the town at the rate of “one a minute” at one stage, according to the Britain-based watchdog.
An activist told AFP that Free Syrian Army fighters were defending Rastan’s entrances but that “regime forces are being strengthened with new deployments,” including from the elite Republican Guard.
“Electricity has been cut off in Rastan, and water tanks have been shelled,” said activist Abu Rawan. “There is also a severe lack of food because the market is closed and we can’t bring food in from nearby villages.”
Hours later, the activist said the army assault eased when a team of UN observers entered Rastan.
“The situation is calm now because the UN monitors have arrived” having heard the shelling, Abu Rawan told AFP, adding, however, “God protect us when they leave.”
On May 14, 23 soldiers were killed in a failed assault on the town, which straddles the main highway linking the capital to the north and where rebels regrouped from the battered city of Homs.
More than 12,600 people have been killed in the bloodshed, nearly 1,500 of them since a UN-backed truce took effect April 12, according to Observatory figures.
–AFP, “Syria assails rebel town, admits sanctions hurting,” The Daily Star, May 23, 2012 (09:52 PM).
On Tuesday, May 22, in al-Busaira, Syrian police forces fired into a crowd of several hundred people who had gathered to meet with the U.N. monitors, as the latter looked on. According to opposition reports, at least two people were killed.
Unter den Augen von UNO-Beobachtern sollen syrische Polizisten in eine Menschenmenge geschossen und zwei Personen getötet haben. Ein Vertreter der Opposition berichtete am Dienstag, in al-Busaira in der ost-syrischen Provinz Deir al-Zor seien Hunderte begeisterte Menschen aus ihren Häusern gestürmt, um die UNO-Beobachter zu begrüßen. “Binnen Minutenfrist gerieten sie ins Feuer”, sagte der Sprecher der überwiegend aus Deserteuren gebildeten Freien Syrischen Armee (FSA). Andere Informanten aus der Opposition sagten, die Regierungstruppen hätten mit Flugabwehrraketen in die Stadt geschossen.
–“Syrien: Bürger vor Augen von UN-Beobachtern getötet?; Syrische Sicherheitskräfte sollen in eine Menschenmenge geschossen haben, die die UNO-Beobachter begrüßen wollte,” Die Presse (Die Presse.com / Wien), 22 Mai 2012.
On Monday, May 21, some 38 people were killed in the fighting in Syria, according to opposition sources. These included 22 soldiers, 11 rebels, and 5 civilians.
“Fast 40 Menschen sterben bei Gefechten; Seit Mitte April herrscht in Syrien Waffenstillstand, doch die Gewalt bricht immer wieder aus: Am Montag wurden erneut viele Menschen getötet, Kriegsgerät soll zerstört worden sein. Uno-Generalsekretär Ban sieht die internationalen Friedensbemühungen an einem “kritischen Punkt”, Der Spiegel, 21 Mai 2012.
For an incisive overview of the current situation, stressing the need for urgent action including potentially military action, see Itamar Rabinovich, “The Anarchy Factor in Syria,” ISN Blog (ETH, Zurich), 23 May 2012.
The theoretical U.N. ceasefire “agreed to” as part of the Security Council’s 6-point peace plan was never observed by al-Assad. It seems now that the rebels have resumed their attacks in earnest. Meanwhile, a third element–linked to al-Qaeda–appears to have entered the fray.
The situation is no longer “spinning out of control”. It is out of control. Whether the U.S., Europe and the Arab countries can act quickly enough to stem the tide is an open question.
Judging from the statements at the G-8 summit at Camp David, these key countries are still asleep. Whether there is more than meets the eye, beneath the surface, remains to be seen.
Publicly, the G-8 and NATO are obviously not paying attention and working hard to come up with new solutions. Such solutions would probably involve the credible threat or actual use of military force.
The Trenchant Observer
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