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Political solution is the only way to end Syrian conflict

wc “Violence begets violence. It is not possible for Syrians to overcome conflict without a political solution, strong democratic institutions and demilitarization of the country,” said Dr Haytham Manna, a prominent Syrian human rights defender and an opposition figure, head of the National Coordination Body (NCB).
Manna met with the World Council of Churches (WCC) staff and representatives of ecumenical and international humanitarian organizations, following a conference of Syrian civil society and members of the NCB in Geneva from 28 to 29 January, titled “For Democratic Syria and Civilian State.”
After the conference, Manna spoke at the WCC headquarters in Geneva on 30 January, where he analyzed the current situation in Syria. He shared the outcomes of the conference, aiming at bringing a peaceful negotiated solution to the conflict.
Syria descended into a vicious circle of violence following military repression of demonstrators and opponents of the regime in 2011.
According to recent United Nations reports, the death toll in Syria has exceeded 60,000 people, while more than a million people have been displaced in the ongoing armed conflict.
“The present state of Syria is a very fragile and complex one. Weapons are spread in, and accessible all over the country. Yet, it is through non-violent means only that we can hope for radical changes and peace,” Manna said.
“Making Syria a stable democratic and civilian state is the dream of the majority of Syrian population, in all its religious and ethnic diversity,” he added.
Responding to a question related to the position of Christian churches in Syria, Manna said that no community was protected by the regime. “We were all equal under the same oppression. In the movement for democracy and transformation, people from all religious backgrounds are struggling together.”
In the meeting, Michel Nseir, programme executive for the WCC special focus on the Middle East, said that the preservation of Syria’s diversity should be a high priority for governments and religious leaders.
“The cohesion of the Syrian social fabric is essential for the whole region. This is of great concern to the WCC,” said Nseir. He went on to say that “immediate end to violence in Syria is significant for us, while we prepare for our assembly in South Korea this year, focusing on the theme of justice and peace.”
Representatives of ecumenical and international organizations also shared about their initiatives. Among those were ACT Alliance, a Christian humanitarian organization, which is providing emergency relief and psycho-social assistance in Syria and among Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Staff of the Lutheran World Federation, a global communion of Lutheran churches, a spoke about their projects related to Syria. They are operating in the Al-Zaatari Camp in Jordan, and are collaborating with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide assistance to Syrian refugees.
The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, an international NGO based in Geneva, is facilitating dialogue in conflict situations, and working on implementing respect for International Humanitarian Law among the military.
WCC programme “Churches in the Middle East”
WCC member churches in Syria
Photo caption: Dr Haytham Manna at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.

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