1. Statement
  2. Middle East & Iran

FCNL: Horrors in Syria Demand Diplomatic Action and De-Escalation

April 9, 2018


FCNL urges Congress to take two important steps to end the Syrian crisis: press the Trump administration to immediately undertake robust diplomatic negotiations and vote to stop the United States from widening this devastating war.

The horrifying attack on civilians, including many children, in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, underscores the urgent imperative for the United States to undertake diplomatic action to end the ongoing mass slaughter of Syrians. Although Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis recently said that “nothing’s off the table,” Washington is mainly considering the same ‘more bombs, more troops’ approach that has repeatedly failed to stop these heinous attacks, with U.S. military intervention only widening this and other wars throughout the region and the world. More U.S. bombs will only fuel the fires of war in Syria, whereas a comprehensive political settlement will ultimately help extinguish them.

Background Members of Congress Demand Vote on Syria War 

We applaud members of Congress of both parties for calling for a constitutionally-mandated debate and vote on use of force in Syria.

After more than seven years of war, with millions forced to flee from their homes and more than half a million Syrians killed, the world should recognize that no military solution exists to this crisis. Until geopolitical rivalries are resolved at the negotiating table, they will continue to take Syrian lives.

FCNL offers these recommendations:

● The U.S. should fully support the ongoing investigation of the chemical weapon attacks by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and work with the international community to bring the perpetrators to justice.

● Congress should take back its constitutional authority to decide if, when, and for how long the U.S. goes to war. Congress should demand that the administration seek an Authorization for the Use of Military Force before pursuing any military action. We urge members of Congress to vote against any further military action in Syria.

● The Trump administration should immediately meet with Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the Gulf States to revive international negotiations that will lead to a diplomatic solution.

● The U.S. should promptly increase resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S. and send more humanitarian aid to the region. Years of direct U.S. military intervention, support of extremist armed groups, and weapons shipments to anti-government rebels in Syria have only added fuel to the fire and put Syrian civilians in greater danger. This militarized approach cannot stop the Assad regime’s systematic atrocities.

A diplomatic solution is the only way to end the bloodshed in Syria, and it is crucial to leverage Russian and Iranian influence on the Syrian government. As backers of the Assad regime, Russia and Iran helped convince Syria to dismantle massive chemical weapons stockpiles in 2013. The U.S. must also press Turkey and Gulf nations to use their influence with armed opposition groups in Syria to work for a diplomatic solution. Given the magnitude of this crisis, it is morally irresponsible not to attempt robust, sustained negotiations with all of the countries that have internationalized Syria’s civil war and have the leverage to end the killing.

FCNL’s nationwide network will continue to urge Congress to press the administration to de-escalate the Syrian crisis and to take back its constitutional authority to determine when and if the United States goes to war. We also call on U.S. policymakers to welcome refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries and advance a comprehensive diplomatic solution in concert to end the bloodshed in Syria.