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Syria Today – UN Security Council Fails to Condemn Damascus Strike

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.
Syria Today – UN Security Council Fails to Condemn Damascus Strike

The United States, Britain and France on Wednesday opposed a Russian-drafted U.N. Security Council statement that would have condemned an attack on Iran’s embassy compound in Syria, which Tehran has blamed on Washington’s ally Israel, Reuters reported.

Press statements by the 15-member council have to be agreed by consensus. Diplomats said the U.S., backed by France and Britain, told council colleagues that many of the facts of what happened on Monday in Damascus remained unclear and there was no consensus among council members during a meeting on Tuesday.

“This serves as a clear illustration of the double standards employed by the Western ‘troika’ and their actual, rather than declarative, approach to legality and order in the international context,” Russia’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said in a post on X.

The U.N. Security Council has issued statements in the past condemning attacks on diplomatic premises. The European Union on Wednesday condemned the strike – saying the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel must be respected – and called on countries to show restraint.

The U.S. says it has not confirmed the status of the building struck in Damascus, but that it would be concerned if it was a diplomatic facility.

Israel has not claimed responsibility for the attack, which destroyed a consular building adjacent to the main embassy complex, killing seven members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Iran has accused Israel of violating the founding U.N. Charter, international law, and also cited several conventions.

UN launches probe for finding disappeared people in Syria

The United Nations has launched a mechanism to uncover the fates and whereabouts of tens of thousands of missing Syrians since war broke out in 2011, New Arab reported.

The UN General Assembly created an Independent Institution for Missing persons in June 2023, overriding objections from the Syrian regime with at least 155,604 people disappeared between the start of the war in March 2011 to August 2023.

The body began operations on Wednesday, with the Syrian Campaign saying it will “clarify the fate and whereabouts of all missing persons” in the country and “provide adequate support to victims, survivors and the families of those missing”.

The Syrian regime had detained an estimated 135,638 individuals, including 3,693 children and 8,478 women, while the Islamic State group, Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, and rebel groups are thought to be responsible for the other disappeared.

Syria has been reeling from its ongoing conflict since 2011 when protests erupted against Bashar Al-Assad and were brutally suppressed with tens of thousands of suspected activists and protesters detained.

It is estimated that the fate of 100,000 Syrians is still unknown since the brutal crackdown on the anti-regime protests, according to the UN, including family members who were forcibly disappeared, abducted, tortured, and arbitrarily detained.

There have been harrowing accounts of mass executions and medieval conditions in Syria’s jails, with fears about the safety of the disappeared.

Bodies of slain Iran Guards repatriated from Syria: media

AFP reported that Iran has repatriated the bodies of seven Revolutionary Guard Corps members killed in a strike on the country’s consular annex in Damascus, which Tehran blamed on Israel, local media reported.

The Guards, including two generals, were killed in the air strike on Monday which levelled the Iranian embassy’s consular annex. Analysts saw the move as part of stepped-up Israeli actions against Iranian and pro-Iran commanders in Syria and Lebanon, which they said could spiral into wider war.

“The bodies of the Iran embassy martyrs arrived at Mehrabad airport” in Tehran, the ISNA news agency reported overnight Wednesday-Thursday.

It broadcast a short video of their coffins being carried by a vehicle.

Iran has said that among the dead were two brigadier generals from the Guards’ foreign operations arm, the Quds Force, Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi and Mohammad Reza Zahedi.

A war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Zahedi was the Quds Force commander for Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.

His death came nearly six months into Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip against Hamas, the Iran-backed Palestinian movement.

State media said the Guards’ funeral will take place on Friday, coinciding with the annual Quds (Jerusalem) Day, when Iranians plan to march in support of Palestinians and against Israel.

How will Europe respond to Israeli strike on Iran’s consulate in Syria?

Responsiblestatecraft.com published a long report on how the EU might respond to the recent escalation in the Middle East, marked by an Israeli air strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, which resulted in the deaths of six Iranians including a high-ranking commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The report says that the incifenet  has intensified fears in Europe of a wider regional conflict. This incident represents a significant escalation, considering the consulate’s status as Iranian territory under international law, prompting serious concerns over a possible direct retaliation from Iran. In response to increasing domestic and regional pressures, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi vowed revenge against Israel, highlighting the tense atmosphere and the potential for a broader conflict.

The situation has prompted an extraordinary meeting of the U.N. Security Council, sought by Iran, which condemned the attack and asserted its right to a decisive response within international law. The discourse in Iran, from both government officials and media, indicates a readiness to retaliate against Israeli interests globally, further complicating the situation.

Europe is particularly concerned about the repercussions of an expanded conflict, which could destabilize the region, lead to mass migration, increase terrorist threats, and potentially impact European interests in the Middle East. European intelligence services, noting the recent ISIS attack in Moscow, have raised alarms about the heightened risk of terrorism.

The European Union (EU) and Britain are urged to engage diplomatically to prevent the escalation of the war, leveraging their direct relations with Iran, unlike the U.S. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has been in contact with Iran’s foreign minister to encourage de-escalation, particularly among Iran’s regional allies. However, Europe’s influence is limited by its members’ reluctance to condemn the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate, contrasting with the broader international condemnation.

The article suggests that the EU could use its economic ties with Israel to push for a political resolution in Gaza and caution against further regional escalations. Yet, there is skepticism about the EU’s willingness or ability to exert such influence effectively. The potential for Iran to pursue nuclear capabilities as a deterrent, amid ongoing regional tensions and Israeli attacks, poses a significant concern, particularly with the possibility of a leadership transition in Iran that might not adhere to the current stance against nuclear weaponization.

This complex situation underscores the challenges facing Europe in navigating the intricacies of Middle Eastern politics and the urgent need for a concerted effort to prevent further escalation and work towards sustainable peace in the region.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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