Sir, – The use of chemical weapons and attacks against civilians represent abhorrent breaches of international humanitarian law. In the wake of such atrocities, the focus of the international community must be on ending the war in Syria and easing what is the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen in a generation. Far from achieving these aims, military action by Western governments runs the risk of increasing regional tensions, fuelling the war further and increasing the humanitarian crisis.
After two years of war, it is only right to question whether all diplomatic avenues towards bringing about peace have been explored. The members of the UN Security Council have an obligation to uphold international law and protect the lives of civilians in Syria. They must put rivalries aside and fulfil their duties. Our partners, both in Syria and Lebanon, are deeply concerned that military strikes will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis. Given Syria’s high population density and already destroyed infrastructure, increased military action will lead to an increase in the number of Syrian civilians fleeing the country. The humanitarian consequences of this action may be enormous.
Military strikes are unlikely to lead to a political solution and there is a real fear that they will only increase regional tensions and further diminish chances of a negotiated peace settlement. Ultimately, the only lasting solution to this conflict will be through diplomacy and dialogue. A military response cannot be justified if it is essentially a face-saving exercise to compensate for political inaction. – Yours, etc,