Syrian regime fights on, but is running out of money
The Arab League called an emergency meeting today to debate next steps, amid reports that Syria is violating a UN cease-fire. Some advocate staying the course, as sanctions start to pinch.
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The plan called for an end to violence, but opposition groups continue to report lethal harassment by government snipers and tank attacks. Meanwhile, a blast in the Syrian city of Hama reportedly left at least 69 people dead today.
As the situation in Syria continues to drag on without any significant change, there is growing debate about whether to give the UN plan more time or to pursue other options.
In a testimony before Congress yesterday, Middle East expert Marc Lynch urged American lawmakers to give the UN peace plan a chance despite its apparent inability to bring stability thus far. Mr. Lynch said any potential military interventions were unlikely to bring about a quick fall of Bashar al-Assad’s regime and other “military half-measures,” such as arming opposition groups or creating safe zones, would risk spreading violence.
“It is far too soon to give up on a diplomatic process which has just begun. Rather than rush into a risky, costly, and potentially counter-productive military intervention, the United States should give the current plan time to work,” said Lynch in his testimony, which was posted on Foreign Policy's website. “It should continue to lead international efforts at the United Nations, promote the demilitarization of the conflict, continue to increase the pressure on the Assad regime, build on the efforts under way with the ‘Friends of Syria’ group, support the political development of the Syrian opposition, and prepare the ground for future accountability for war crimes.”