Appeal to stop violence and prevent war in Syria!

The German Section of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)

* Stop the violence in Syria – prevent war!
Appeal to the Syrian government and the armed opposition as well as to
their international supporters.

* For weeks, there have been an increasing number of reports of escalating
violence in Syria. According to the UN, thousands of people have already
lost their lives. And according to the international media, various
plans already exist and are still being forged for a military
intervention by the West.

Yesterday at the Munich Security Conference, Tawakkul Karman, the Yemeni
Nobel Peace Prize recipient, justifiably demanded that international
measures be taken to protect people in Syria from the escalating
violence. Her view of the situation overlooks, however, the fact that
Russia and China do not by any means reject such measures. On the
contrary, Russia has stated that it would support a UN resolution on
Syria if it rules out any external military intervention and demands a
halt to violence not only on the part of the Syrian government, but also
from the opposition. In contrast to the picture painted by the Western
media, the responsibility for yesterday’s failure of the resolution in
the UN Security Council should in no way be placed solely with Russian
and China, but also to a large extent with the West, which for weeks has
consistently rejected a peace-oriented formulation of the resolution.

As members of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear
War (IPPNW), also a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, we are deeply
concerned about the large and growing number of victims of violence in
Syria, including a great many individuals not directly involved in the
conflict. Numerous physicians, as well others contributing to the care
of the injured, are affected. We, as the German section of the IPPNW,
also want to raise the alarm about an additional danger. A Western
military intervention could set a process in motion that would involve
other countries, such a Iran, and thereby lead to a conflagration in the
whole region – and one which borders directly with Europe. If NATO
becomes involved, this could even result in an open confrontation
between the nuclear superpowers.

There is growing evidence that the domestic Syrian conflict, as well as
the struggle for democracy and the rule of law, is being increasingly
exploited and exacerbated by external players for their own political
aims. Apparently, it is not only the Syrian government that has been
supported with weapons, in this case provided by Russia, but Syrian
rebels, too, have received both large sums of money from Western allied
Gulf states as well as weapons from the Turkish NATO base in Incirlik.
They have been supported by foreign mercenaries, including some from
Libya. Many people in Syria and, in particular, peaceful opposition
groups have complained that these developments have destroyed any
prospects for peaceful change that have been advanced for years by the
reform movement. The result is an ever-greater bloodbath between the
parties in this civil war and an increasing number of civilian victims.
Those who hold the view that it is legitimate to exacerbate the domestic
conflict in Syria in order to bring about regime change in Damascus,
make it easier to forment a war with Iran, or even to deprive Russia of
its naval base on the Mediterranean, leave themselves open to the
accusation that they are involved in the preparation of a war by proxy
and thereby are guilty of a crime against humanity.

As members of the physicians’ peace organization IPPNW, we therefore appeal:

■ to NATO and, in particular, to the German government:
Undertake measures to immediately halt the secret transfer of Western
weapons to Syria! Clearly reject all plans for a Western military
intervention in Syria! Embargos are also not a solution. Instead,
attempt to bring about an agreement with all parties and especially
reach out to Russia!

■ to the Russian government:
Immediately introduce your own resolution proposal to the UN Security
Council based on a thoroughgoing peaceful approach. This includes not
only refraining from any further arming of the Syrian opposition, but
also of the Syrian government. This requires increased efforts to
initiate peaceful alternatives, such as international talks with all
interested parties to the conflict!

■ to the Arab League:

Resume your observer mission. And increase its prospects for success by
appealing to all participant countries: Similar to the superpowers,
please immediately halt all activities that foster violence in Syria and
instead promote all possible approaches towards a peaceful solution!

■ to the Syrian government and opposition:
Distance yourselves from unachievable maximum demands and accept
negotiations. Only in this way can you prevent your country from sinking
into the bloodbath of a proxy war fuelled by foreign interests! Stop the
destruction of your country’s civilian infrastructure and stop all
attacks on hospitals, doctors, and other medical personnel!
Physicians fight for peace.

Because war destroys life and health.

And war destroys human rights.

War does not create peace.

The German Section of International Physicians for the Prevention of
Nuclear War (IPPNW), Nobel Peace Prize recipient for 1985

February 6th, 2012