End foreign military interventions in Syria, says World Council of Churches

(Photo: © Peter Kenny / Ecumenical News)United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura tells journalists in Geneva on Oct. 12, 2015, that he will visit Moscow in his Syrian peace efforts.

GENEVA - The World Council of Churches has expressed grave concern over the dramatic escalation of the conflict in Syria and called for an end to foreign military intervention.

The WCC issued its statement strongly condemning all foreign military operations in Syria following the entry of Russia's military into the conflict arena and debate in Britain about increasing the role of its forces.

The Oct. 12 statement was issued, "especially since hope has been raised for a political process in line with proposals made by the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Syria, and approved by the Security Council last August."

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura told journalists in Geneva, "It is clear that the Russian military intervention in Syria has indeed introduced new dynamics into the situation.

"And that means that making forecast speculations are going to be for the moment difficult. That's one of the reasons why in fact I am on my way tonight to Moscow," he said Oct. 12.

The WCC, together with its churches and ecumenical partners, noted it has expressed on several occasions its deep conviction that "there will be no military solution" to the conflict in Syria.

"We call upon all governments to put an immediate end to all military actions and to support and engage with a political process for peace in Syria through which a narrative for all Syrians can be generated," said Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC.

He noted, "We also reiterate our urgent call to the U.N. Security Council and the international community to implement measures to end the flow of weapons and foreign fighters into Syria."


The WCC leader said, "Only a political solution in Syria, leading to the establishment of a transitional national government, recognized by the people of Syria and the international community, can adequately address the existential threat posed by ISIS and other extremist groups."

Such a solution alone can offer hope for the preservation of the diverse social fabric of Syria and the region said the WCC statement.

"The Syrian people deserve another alternative to what they face today, and a just peace now. We hope and pray that the suffering of the Syrian people will come to an end soon."

De Mistura for his part stressed, "What we must at all cost avoid at this stage in particular is of course a continuation of the conflict and increase the possibility of reducing violence on the Syrian people and a partition which is de facto already been seen as a possibility and we consider that a tragedy.

"And at the same time that the situation could move into a toxic type of cocktail – and of a combination of a creeping Afghanistan with shades of Libya and Somalia. Hence, need of a urgent political process to start now. "

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