Assad regime is not the lesser of two evils

Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has warned EU representatives of the danger of inadvertently assisting the Assad regime, as a lesser evil compared to ISIS and the impact our actions have in the eyes of the population of Syria.

Alyn said in a European Parliament debate on the situation in Syria:

"There is a need for us, the European Union and the West, to not drift towards Assad by accident in the combat against fight ISIS. The Assad regime, in the eyes of the people of Syria, is no lesser evil: it is the same evil. We must combat ISIS but also understand the causes and the symptoms it represents."

Alyn who has met with Syrian activists and closely follows the situation in Palmyra, later added:

"Assad is hoping ISIS will make his regime look moderate but we must see the bigger picture, however complex it may be. ISIS has committed horrible crimes, yet that does not mean we ought to follow or even cooperate with the Assad regime. Even the present air strikes against ISIS may be inadvertently assisting the Assad regime on the ground.

“Since 2011 many Syrians who peacefully opposed the regime have been tortured and killed in the notorious Palmyra prison, which acted as a hub for repression until last month when ISIS demolished it.

“We did nothing to stop this, and now ISIS is taking advantage of that by gaining popular support after it demolished the Palmyra prison where so many of Syrians lost their lives at the hands of the Assad regime. 

Alyn's latest speech on Syria is available on his YouTube Channel or below:

The European Parliament's resolution on the situation in the city of Palmyra and the case of detained human rights defender Mazen Darwish is available in full here. 

Syria's death toll in May 2015 only was estimated over 6,600 killed, including at least 1,200 civilians mostly killed by the Syrian regime's air raids, as well as at least 197 civilians killed by the so-called Islamic State.