Syria conflict worsening

Updated: 2013-05-09 08:07

(China Daily)

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It is disturbing that the Syria issue continues to go from bad to worse and is becoming increasingly complicated.

Israel's air strikes on Syria should again sound the alarm to the international community about the dangers of the crisis spreading, while the testimony gathered by the United Nations' human rights investigators suggests that the Syrian rebel forces have used the nerve gas sarin, which, if confirmed, means the conflict is heading in a very dangerous direction.

And the bad news doesn't end there. US Democratic Senator Bob Menendez introduced legislation on Monday, calling for the United States to provide weapons to Syrian opposition groups that do not have links to terrorism. So far, Washington has said it has only provided nonlethal assistance to the rebels.

Given that the Syrian opposition groups are not only widely divided but have also been infiltrated by members of al-Qaida, there can be no guarantee that the arms will not end up in the hands of terrorists once the bill is passed and signed into law.

Up until now, Western countries have been cautious about arming the rebels, because of their concerns about the infiltration of terrorist and extremist groups into Syria. But it now looks more likely than ever that the US will give the green light to arming the rebels, which is an extremely worrying development.

Moreover, the developments in recent days suggest the US and its Western allies might make bolder moves to turn the Middle East country into the venue of a proxy war. People keen on moving in this direction should be warned that, should the situation escalate further, it will have immeasurable consequences on the region and beyond.

The two-year-old crisis in Syria has brought untold suffering to the Syrian people and added to the uncertainties threatening regional peace and stability. The covert and overt interference from some outside forces have added complexity to the conflict and undercut international efforts that aim to resolve the issue in peace.

Nonetheless, the international community should step up mediation efforts to end the violence in Syria. A political resolution is both the right way and the only way to resolve the crisis.

(China Daily 05/09/2013 page8)