Should the UN take steps to cut Syria off from shipments of new weapons?

Charting Syria’s civil war view interactive map and timeline of the conflict in Syria

Syria’s civil war has reached a point of stalemate after two years of fighting, according to the United Nations. A new report by the UN is calling for outside parties to stop sending weapons into the conflict.

Britain and France have successfully fought to let a European Union embargo on arms lapse which could allow European governments supply the rebels. Russian military leaders have proposed sending additional weapons to the Syrian government arguing that it will tip the balance of power in the region.

New York Times: Reporting “new levels of brutality” in Syria’s more than two-year-old conflict, United Nations investigators said on Tuesday that they believed chemical weapons and thermobaric bombs were used in recent weeks and urged the international community to cut off supplies of weapons that could only result in more civilian casualties.

The Commission of Inquiry investigating the hostilities in Syria said “there are reasonable grounds to believe limited quantities of toxic chemicals were used” in Aleppo and Damascus on March 19, in Aleppo again on April 13 and in Idlib on April 29.

“Crimes that shock the conscience have become a daily reality,” said Paulo Pinheiro, the panel’s chairman.

… After more than two years of conflict, it was clear a military stalemate now prevailed. “It’s an illusion that more weapons will tip the balance between the two parties. No one is winning,” UN panel chairman Paulo Pinheiro said. The report warned that “increased arm transfers hurt the prospect of a political settlement to the conflict, fuel the multiplication of armed actors at the national and regional levels and have devastating consequences for civilians.”

Today’s Question: Should the UN take steps to cut Syria off from shipments of new weapons?

  • Bill

    No, they are defensive weapons, to protect them against the evil Israeli aggression.

  • Gary F

    We don’t really know if the rebels are any better than the Assad regime. It’s a lousy situation, but I don’t know if helping the rebels is the right plan. As ugly as it is, I think we need to stay out of this one.

  • KTN

    Enforcing a no-fly zone would probably have a positive effect on limiting weapons getting into the government hands. A country that uses chemical weapons on their own citizens is evil, and attempts to keep any more weapons (biological or not) is most likely a good thing for the citizens.This is another quagmire, and the U.S. should remain on the sidelines, and let a coalition take the steps required to effect change.

    • Gary F

      It will take days if not minutes before the No Fly Zone is violated, then what?

      • KTN

        Worked pretty well in Iraq, at least until the Administration believed there were WMD’s, and then all bets were off. Quagmire ensued.

        But maybe the U.N. or NATO should just rest on their hands and not try, That is such an effective strategy.

  • Rich in Duluth

    Yes, the UN, not the US, should act to cut off arms to both sides. If the shooting can be stopped, maybe talking can begin.

  • PaulJ

    Only if those steps are integrated into a comprehensive solution.

  • Emery

    I don’t see how we’re damned if we don’t. Syria is not our problem and is not our concern. Staying in this region with a heavy military presence will do nothing
    but suck more and more resources away from our country and throw it into
    a burning pit. No, I’d rather keep that money here. I’d rather let
    Assad keep control of Syria.

  • Pearly

    Does anyone realy listen to the U.N. What could they realy even do on their own? America please keep your hands off.

  • Jim G

    Yes. The Syrian civil war is very complex because of its proximity to Israel and the number of regional and world powers interested in its outcome. The UN is the largest organization and it will be the most effective in setting up a weapons embargo with member states being responsible for the enforcement. If this war continues to grow, it will not only become a wider regional war, but it’d increasingly become a proxy war between opposing backers, with the Syrians paying the bloodiest of the worldwide consequences.

  • JQP

    there is no stopping the flow of weapons.may as well try to stop the flow of sunshine, greed or stupid. better solutions: Remove the ownership of patents from any company whose military goods wind up in Syria. Let this be a free-market solution.