As Syria Crisis Worsens, UN Security Council Must Act

Content from the Brookings Doha Center is now archived. In September 2021, after 14 years of impactful partnership, Brookings and the Brookings Doha Center announced that they were ending their affiliation. The Brookings Doha Center is now the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, a separate public policy institution based in Qatar.

Oct. 4 marked a critical day when the UN Security Council failed to act on the worsening crisis in Syria. Russian and Chinese vetoes blocked a resolution that would have condemned the Assad regime’s actions and warned it of punitive measures if it did not reverse course.

Since then, the crisis has entered a new, more militarized phase with signs of a civil war developing. Action by the Security Council is urgently needed.

More than 5,000 people have been killed, including more than 300 children, since the first protests against the regime of Bashir al-Assad began nearly a year ago. Thousands more have been injured and detained.

Clashes between regime forces and the opposition Free Syrian Army have become more regular and made the situation inside the country more complex. The Arab League’s recent failure to persuade the Assad government to end violence and enact reforms has shown that there is no alternative to more concerted international action against Syria.

With the protection of protesters and other civilians a central concern of regional and international actors, all roads are again leading back to the UN Security Council. However, for the council to be effective it must, as in the case of Libya, show determination to enforce its recommendations, including taking measures to break down the regime’s support within Syria.

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