Oxfam America President Raymond C. Offenheiser issued the following statement today in light of reports that the U.S. government is considering military intervention in Syria:
“Last week’s horrifying attacks around Damascus have underscored the terrible suffering endured by the Syrian people in the escalating conflict. Oxfam condemns the attacks, and the continuing indiscriminate targeting of civilians in Syria, in the strongest terms and calls on parties to the conflict in Syria to respect international humanitarian law. Now, with the world watching, U.S. warships are assembling within striking distance of Syria. Oxfam is profoundly concerned by the warlike rhetoric building within the White House and U.S. Congress.
“Any military intervention should be an option of last resort. In such a complex conflict, it carries high risks for civilians, unclear benefits and could further threaten regional stability. Instead, now is the time for President Obama and other world leaders to show courage against the tide of war, and pursue a political solution to end the bloodshed.
“100,000 lives have already been lost and millions of people are in need of immediate humanitarian aid, including nearly 2 million refugees. All suspected chemical attacks must be thoroughly investigated by the United Nations in a timely manner, but should not be used as justification for military intervention or pouring more arms into the conflict.
“Promises from U.S. and Russian officials for a peace summit have come and gone without any noticeable action. It is now more urgent than ever that U.S. and Russian officials due to meet this week in The Hague put aside their political differences and finalize plans for the Geneva peace conference.”