Coalition for a Democratic Syria Asks Obama, Romney to Support No-Fly Zones, Additional Arms for Free Syrian Army
Tougher engagement described as crucial to US national security interests
TAMPA 8/29/2012 - The Coalition for a Democratic Syria released letters today to President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney asking for their support for tough new measures to bring an end to the crisis in Syria. More decisive action now will help protect American interests in the region and allow the United States to play a larger role in the shaping of a post-Assad Syria, the letters argue.
The Coalition for a Democratic Syria is a partnership of Syrian Americans seeking to end the bloodshed and foster a transition to a free and democratic Syria. To date, the conflict there has left more than 23,000 dead and created more than 250,000 refugees.
Dr. Radwan Ziadeh, a spokesman for the Coalition and a member of the Syrian National Council and the Executive Director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Washington, announced the release of the letters during a briefing in Tampa about his recent fact-finding trip to the region. Dr. Ziadeh visited refugee camps along the Turkish border and met with elements of the Free Syrian Army while in Syria.
America’s adversaries in the region – Iran and Hezbollah – are working to prop up the Assad regime, which is a key supporter of terrorism. The state is a transit point of arms to Lebanon and a major impediment to Middle East peace. Acting now to hasten the demise of the regime is a vital US national security interest, Ziadeh said.
“We believe that by working with regional partners to strengthen support for vetted members of the Syrian opposition, America can … save lives, reduce the risk of regional instability and increase our nation’s ability to shape the outcome in a critical region where we have major interests and crucial allies,” the letter from Coalition Chairman Dr. Mahmoud Khattab states.
The Coalition asks Obama and Romney to endorse significantly increasing the supply of defensive arms, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, as well as strengthened intelligence, training and funding support to carefully vetted elements of the Free Syrian Army, and to support tougher measures to protect civilians and enforce the democratic transition through the creation of no-fly zones. It also calls on the United States to commit to funding local governance councils in liberated areas so that they can provide basic services to the people and foster the development of democratic institutions.
You can find the full text of the letters here: http://www.coalitionforademocraticsyria.org/resources