The West Can Still Shape the Terms for Peace in Syria by David Miliband – Washington Post
The seven years of Syria’s crisis has cost half a million lives, displaced more than 5 million refugees and reordered the geopolitics of the Middle East. But the worst may be yet to come. Western policymakers cannot be allowed to turn the other way and need to show their mettle when the U.N. Security Council meets on Syria this month.
In June, President Bashar al-Assad’s forces stormed the southwestern region of Syria, where the uprising began. Within weeks, they took control of the border crossings with Jordan that had been used by aid agencies to supply cross-border aid to hundreds of thousands of Syrians in desperate need. My organization, the International Rescue Committee, with its network of Syrian partner organizations, was the largest health-care provider in southern Syria, supporting more than a quarter of a million Syrians.
Now we are shut out, with no access to those people in need. And we don’t know the fate of those we were serving. The assurances from the Syrian government inspire little confidence in light of the conditions in other areas previously retaken by the regime (like Ghouta, east of Damascus). Even humanitarian partners authorized to work inside Syria have yet to receive permission from the Assad government to deliver much-needed aid into many areas newly under government control.
Humanitarian aid has been blocked, but the needs are likely growing, given the brutality of the offensive to retake Daraa, which drove hundreds of thousands of Syrians from their homes in just a matter of days…