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539 words - May 28, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
Addressing the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay emphasized the international community has to stop the escalating bloodshed and suffering in Syria, stressing it has become "an intolerable affront to the human conscience."
On May 26, United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon shared a similar assessment of the situation, reiterating that "protecting civilians must be the priority and urges all to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law." Also, the UNSG worried about the "acknowledged increased participation in the fighting in Syria by Hezbollah."
A European Council, held in Brussels on May 27, reiterated the European Union (EU)'s condemnation of the atrocities committed by the "Syrian regime," and said the EU is deeply concerned with the rise of religiously or ethnically motivated violence, like the recent kidnapping of two orthodox bishops whose situation so far has not received enough attention from the international community.
Welcoming the joint US-Russian call for a peace conference on Syria to promote a political process based on the principles included in the June 2012 Geneva communiqué, the EU also took positive note of the declaration of April 20 by the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SOC). Without naming the Hezbollah, the EU condemned the involvement of extremist and foreign non-state actors in the fighting in Syria, "which is further fuelling the conflict and posing a threat to regional stability."
According to DiploNews, the risk of spillover in Lebanon has already become a reality and the challenge will now for the international community to contain any further deterioration. The past week witnessed a number of Syria-related incidents in Lebanon, in violation of the Baabda Declaration which dissociated Lebanon from the Syrian conflict. On May 20, United States President Barack Obama voiced his concern about the support of the Hezbollah to the regime of Bashar al-Assad and agreed with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman that all the parties "should respect Lebanon's policy of dissociation from the conflict in Syria."
Though the political and military configuration of Jordan is very different from Lebanon, notably with the presence of US "elements", there is potential for the spillover to affect the Hashemite Kingdom sooner than expected, as the Syrian conflict intensifies and the EU clears the path for French and British weapons to be delivered to the SOC. Indeed, the 2nd paragraph of the European Council declaration on Syria on May 27 stated that the "the sale, supply, transfer or export of military equipment or of equipment which might be used for internal repression will be for the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces and intended for the protection of civilians."
Now, it's up to France and Britain to make sure the weapons will not fall into the wrong hands. If DiploNews thinks the European Council's decision mostly resulted from a growing involvement from state-sponsored actors like Hezbollah and that allowing the sending of lethal weapons could be a loud and clear signal to these actors that the SOC will be no easy target, analysts wonder in what extent the European Council's decision can participate in the spillover it aims to contain.
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