CAFOD calls for peace after Syria weapons resolution

27 September 2013

Rosan is one of more than seven million Syrian refugees who have fled the fighting.

Rosan is one of more than seven million Syrians who have been forced from their homes by the fighting.

CAFOD welcomes the UN resolution on chemical weapons in Syria – but warns that achieving peace must be the number one priority.

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Alan Thomlinson, our Emergency Manager for the Syria Crisis, said:

“We welcome the fact that the UN Security Council has condemned the use of chemical weapons, and demanded that they be removed from the conflict. But thousands of people are being killed by conventional weapons every month, and the war continues to have a devastating humanitarian impact.

“It’s vital that the international community does not sit back following the resolution. Instead they should push for an immediate ceasefire, and for peace negotiations between all parties involved without preconditions.

“The good news is that the progress made on chemical weapons shows that negotiations can achieve results: if the international community works together, there is the possibility of moving towards a lasting solution to the conflict.”

More than one third of all homes in Syria have been damaged or destroyed, and more than seven million people have been forced from their homes. Many are living in dire conditions – in makeshift camps, in derelict or half-built buildings, in sheds or even in the open air. As winter approaches, conditions will only get worse.

Alan Thomlinson said: “With winter approaching, millions people will face a desperate few months, living in tents or derelict housing in plummeting temperatures. 

“It is more crucial than ever that aid is allowed to reach all parts of Syria. The government and armed opposition groups are both obliged, under international humanitarian law, to allow the safe passage of relief convoys and humanitarian personnel in areas under their control. The international community must demand that they live up to these obligations.”

Risking lives

CAFOD is working with Church partners to provide food and relief supplies to people on both sides of the conflict in Syria, regardless of their political or religious ties. The community networks of the Church, even as a minority faith, mean that it is well placed to deliver aid in some of the worst hit and most inaccessible areas of the country. Many of our partners are risking their lives to make sure the aid gets through.

We are also supporting Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, providing food, healthcare, shelter, mattresses, blankets and clothes.

With support from CAFOD and other Catholic agencies, our partners have reached more than 295,000 people in the region. Our Syria Crisis appeal has raised more than £2 million.

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