Australians for Syria is an umbrella group which unites people from various backgrounds within the Australian community. What brings members together is support for a secular Syria and for peaceful reform as well as a belief that President al-Assad and the Syrian government are serious in their wish to implement democratic reforms.
Below is the text original ‘mission statement’ of the group.
2 May 2011
Australians for Syria call for a peaceful resolution to protests
In light of the recent troubles in Syria, a group of Australians of Syrian background have founded “Australians for Syria”, a collective tasked with voicing their views on the current issues in their country of origin.
Australians for Syria:
- Support all legitimate calls for political reform in Syria.
- Support the abolition of the Emergency Law and call for a speedy implementation of laws allowing political parties to freely operate in the country;
- Condemn the use of force to quell peaceful political protest;
- Offer condolences to the families of all those who have lost their lives – civilians, protesters and security personnel alike;
- Furthermore, Australians for Syria express the following grave concerns:
a. The protests appear to be increasingly sectarian. Reports from Syria suggest that what began as protests for reform have now disintegrated into calls for regime change motivated by sectarian divides and fuelled by radicals and extremists. Australians for Syria distinguish between legitimate calls for reform and sectarian riots;
b. Some protestors have become violent. Syrian police, security personnel and civilians belonging to minority groups have been deliberately targeted. There have been reported cases of revenge killings, ambushes and reprisals. Political freedoms cannot be achieved by violent means nor by riots aimed at causing property damage to public buildings.
c. Sectarian violence may lead to a civil war in Syria and the disintegration of the Syrian state. Australians for Syria oppose any outcome in Syria that leads to the break-up of the state and its secular identity. Calls for the establishment of a “Syrian Emirate” are hereby condemned as such views are a reflection of Islamic extremism.
6. In light of the above concerns and with a view to resolving the troubles in the country, Australians for Syria call on the Syrian people to:
a. Allow the new Syrian cabinet an opportunity to implement the promised reforms.
b. Distance themselves from radicals and extremists and not partake in violent street protests.
c. Reject calls for regime change. Syrians are urged to consider the full ramifications of an overthrow of the regime and whether it is in the best interests of the country in light of the likelihood of sectarian violence.
7. Australians for Syria ask that the Australian media, political leaders and fellow citizens give serious thought to the above concerns when reporting, making decisions or discussing the events in Syria.
More information about Australians for Syria:
Australians for Syria is comprised of members of political groups, community organizations, media organizations, charities and academics. They are Australians of various backgrounds who have been motivated to speak out in light of the troubles affecting Syria.
(NB: The contact details given in the original statement are not included here. The group set up a Facebook page, which remains active.)