The creation of a Constitutional Committee is indispensable for the political transition towards peace and stability in Syria

 The PACE Political Affairs Committee urged the international community to "to unite and engage in serious efforts” to reach a common agreement with a view to setting up a Constitutional Committee, as a necessary mechanism of political transition towards peace and stability in Syria.

The parliamentarians urged all parties to seize the current opportunity to find lasting peace by making progress on the establishment of a “legitimate, credible, diverse and balanced” Constitutional Committee to draft a constitutional reform, as a contribution to the political settlement and the establishment of a democratic post-war Syria.

The report presented Theodora Bakoyannis (Greece, EPP/CD), details that eight years after it started, the war in Syria has led to one of the worst humanitarian crises the world has faced since World War II. It continues to have devastating consequences for the Syrian people and has so far claimed over 400 000 lives and driven some 11.7 million to flee their homes, including over 5.6 million to seek refuge in neighbouring countries and beyond.

The draft resolution adopted by the Committee urges all parties involved in military operations against them to take all necessary precautions to avoid harm to the thousands of civilians who are trapped in the midst of air strikes and ground fighting. All parties to the conflict should “reinforce the ceasefire in all areas of the country, allow humanitarian convoys to proceed and facilitate safe, rapid, unhindered and sustained humanitarian assistance”. It also urges Council of Europe members States to repatriate captured foreign fighters, and their families, who fought with Daesh in Syria, and to put them on trial.

Accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations is central to achieving sustainable peace in Syria and facilitating a national reconciliation process and transitional justice, the adopted text underlines. Therefore, it calls upon all parties to the conflict and the Council of Europe member and observer States to co-operate fully with the International Mechanism to Assist in the Investigations. The situation in Syria should be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the UN Security Council.

The Committee deeply appreciated the significant efforts that have been made by Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt to accommodate Syrian refugees, and stressed that the Syrian refugee crisis “is the responsibility not only of neighbouring States and of Europe, but of the whole international community”.