Syria Crisis
- New York 09/04/2013 by Linda Perry Barr (WBAI News)

Secretary of State John Kerry made clear that "degrading" Syria means a regime change at the meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday. With few objections, top members drafted a resolution that permits President Obama to order a "limited and tailored" military mission against Syria, as long as it doesn't exceed 90 days and involves no American troops on the ground for combat operations. On Wednesday the resolution was approved with a vote of 10 to 7. Who voted no?: Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) voted present and took no position. The resolution now goes to the full Senate.

President Obama continues his impassioned appeal for support both at home and abroad at the G-20 Summit. He says the credibility of the international community and Congress is on the line in the debate over how to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.  But airstrikes over the purported use of sarin gas by Syrian President Bashar Assad is a pretext for war in the minds of many anti-war activists who demonstrate in New York City and across the country. Move On's online petition says War is Not the Answer -No War In Syria or Iran.  It will be delivered to the House of Representatives.

Americans are against airstrikes in Syria says a new poll by Pew Research Center. By a 48% to 29% margin, more Americans oppose than support conducting military airstrikes against Syria in response to reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons. 74% believe such strikes are likely to create a backlash against the U.S.

Meanwhile top officials from four nations harbor 2 million Syrian refugees. More than half are children.They say they badly need outside help to care for those fleeing the violence. There are approximately 716,000 refugees in Lebanon, 515,000 in Jordan, 460,000 in Turkey, 168,000 in Iraq and 110,000 in Egypt.

Here's a dispatch from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency
by J-MFerre.

– Government ministers from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey gathered in Geneva on Wednesday to take part in a meeting on the Syria refugee crisis chaired by UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.

Lebanon's Minister of Social Affairs Wael Abu Faour, Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari arrived at the UNHCR headquarters on late Wednesday morning for the half-day gathering.

One day after the number of Syrians registered as refugees or waiting to be registered passed the 2 million mark, UNHCR is seriously concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region, and the devastating impact this is having on countries hosting large Syrian refugee populations. Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq are the four main hosting countries.

Marking the tragic milestone passed yesterday, Guterres said Syria had become "a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history." He added that "the only solace is the humanity shown by the neighboring countries in welcoming and saving the lives of so many refugees."

More than 97 per cent of Syria's refugees are hosted by countries in the immediate surrounding region, placing an overwhelming burden on their infrastructures, economies and societies. They urgently need massive international support.

The meeting paves the way for a ministerial-level gathering to be held on September 30 as part of UNHCR's annual Executive Committee gathering. Those discussions will seek to build consensus for large-scale commitments incorporating humanitarian and emergency development support. This would include the involvement of international financial institutions.

headline photo
High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres flanked by the ministers from Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan at the start of today's meeting in Geneva.


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