PH groups oppose US intervention in Syria
MANILA, Philippines - Philippine progressive groups are opposed to a possible US military action in Syria and are demanding that the Philippine government "strongly denounce" any US intervention in the war-torn state.
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), in a statement issued on September 8, said "US intervention, in the guise of humanitarian concern, has always led to greater turmoil and oppression for the people that were supposed to be liberated."
Bayan condemned the reported chemical attack in Damascus on August 21 that killed hundreds of civilians. However, it said that the US government cannot use its intelligence reports to justify a unilateral strike against the Syrian government.
"The Obama regime is not even waiting for the report of the UN fact-finding mission that was sent to Syria to investigate the use of chemical weapons," the group added.
Another leftist alliance, The Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (Karapatan), also condemned what it said is a US campaign to heighten tensions in Syria.
Karapatan also echoed a claim by the Syrian government that the reported chemical attack was carried out by Syrian rebels with the help of the US.
“The Syrian government has strongly denied responsibility for the chemical attack and has cited the role of the mercenaries hired and encouraged by the US, who have the most to gain in the said attack,” the rights group said.
The US however said it has strong evidence to indicate the Syrian government was behind the chemical attack – a claim backed by France and Britain.
The Philippine government has not issued any official position on Syria or on the possible US military intervention in the troubled country.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda however said on September 2 that the government is monitoring the situation and will "wait and see" whether the US Congress will authorize a military strike.
Lacierda added the priority of the Philippine government is to repatriate overseas Filipino workers in Syria and ensure the safety of Filipinos in the Middle East. The government usually refrains from taking any position on Middle East affairs due to the large number of Filipinos present in the region.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said that last August 30, 68 overseas Filipino workers were brought by the Philippine embassies in Beirut and Damascus to a Caritas shelter in Lebanon.
President Obama on September 7 said inaction is not an option for the US in Syria after the August 21 chemical attacks.
Obama recently asked authority from the US Congress to conduct a military action against the Syrian government, despite having the executive power to authorize a strike without congressional approval.
During the G20 Summit held at St. Petersburg, Russia in September 5 to 6 world powers failed to bridge deep divisions on Syria.
But 11 of the G20 states, including Australia, Canada, France, Britain, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, and the US condemned the August 21 chemical attack in Syria and called for a strong international response.
"The evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack, which is part of a pattern of chemical weapons use by the regime," the states in a statement released by the White House said.
The statement, however, stopped short of calling for a military response. – Rappler.com