Roadmap to Peace in Syria
Violence and civil strife continue to plague Syria. The country remains in a difficult position. Syria deserves better. Unfortunately, Syria has become an arena in which regional and international actors play out their conflicts at the expense of the Syrian people. Unprecedented devastation, division, and sectarian violence has resulted. There is no military solution to Syria’s crisis. More militarism will only lead to greater violence and instability.
The Syrian crisis began as a series of uprisings against the government. In an attempt to crush the opposition, the authoritarian regime and counter-violence turned Syria into a war zone, a breeding ground for terrorist organizations, and a region vulnerable to military intervention. Syria’s unity remains fragile. The task of saving Syria belongs to its people and to national democratic powers with the proven and practical capabilities to rescue it.
Syria’s future must not repeat the mistakes of its past. Nationalistic, sectarian, confrontational characteristics must be thrown into the trash bin of history. Democracy and human rights for all Syrians must be the rallying cry of Syria’s leaders moving forward.
The Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) represents a broad array of Syria’s peoples and possesses a democratic framework to resolve Syria’s crisis and help the nation embark on a road to peace and security. The solution to Syria’s crisis lies in its peoples, under the auspices of the international community and a national dialogue. There should be an agreement among all of Syria’s groups about the main tenets of the national dialogue in accordance with international norms. These tenets should be included in the following steps and starting points.
Solving the Syrian Crisis
The crisis of Syria was caused by an authoritarian nation state whose borders were forced upon by outside powers at the beginning of the last century.
Syria’s crisis cannot be controlled in the old style, the authoritarian way. The only alternative is to establish a democratic society in Syria.
Unity, collectivism, and pluralism — with its traditions and cultural heritage — is deeply rooted in Syria. This unity persists, despite the fragmentation and marginalization with a national or religious ideology founded by upper ruling classes in society. This unity brings together peoples to live alongside each other in peace and kinship.
We believe that a realistic solution in Syria will be achieved by building a democratic society. In doing so, Syria shall achieve groundbreaking solutions to democratic and social issues. All the international summits and conferences on Syria’s future to date are at an impasse. Their suggested solutions have been based on authoritarian systems of government.
- Achieve a peaceful coexistence between peoples
- Reach an ecological and socially-democratic society
- Build a system of law and democracy that secures a free and dignified life for all groups
- Commit to the values of truth and social justice, free from the ideologies of authoritarianism, military-rule and religious extremism
- Strive for equality without discrimination based on race, religion, creed, doctrine, or gender
- Transform the moral and political fabric of Syrian society into one of mutual understanding and coexistence
- Respect the rights of peoples
- Respect peace and security
- Ensure women’s rights on the basis of equality
- Ensure the rights of children and youth
- Secure self-protection and legitimate self defense
- Respect freedom of religion and belief
Preliminary Steps & Confidence-Building Measures
- Fight terrorism and dry up its intellectual, material, and financial sources.
- Syria’s powers must all agree upon a comprehensive ceasefire that is protected by international powers, which monitor and control Syria’s borders so as to prevent any and all interventions by non-Syrian actors and groups.
- Launch a national dialogue that includes all of Syria’s parties with the goal of agreeing on a common vision for the new Syria.
- Release all war-time detainees and abductees by all parties in agreed to stages.
- Remove all foreign fighters from Syria with the support of the UN.
- Call upon all Turkish forces to leave Syria by an agreed-upon date, and secure a Syrian national commitment to fight and defeat any and all terrorist organizations including al-Qaeda, ISIS, and al-Nusra.
- Lift all sieges in Syria in order to allow international and Syrian aid organizations to operate freely to provide humanitarian assistance to all those that most require it across the country.
- Create the correct conditions, with the help of the international community, to allow for the return of refugees to Syria and IDPs in Syria to their homes or safe areas.
- Address any efforts to create demographic change in Syria, and ensure that such efforts are invalid and unacceptable.
- The Kurdish issue in Syria is considered a democratic issue. A just and democratic solution must be founded upon the basis of constitutional recognition of the legitimate rights of the Kurdish people in Syria.
- Ensure legal recognition of self-administration in North and East Syria, and democratic decentralization in Syria’s regions.
- Constitutional recognition of the existence and identity of Syriac Syrians and the Syriac language as a national language.
- Empower women politically, economically, and socially. Increase and enhance women’s participation in decision-making and enable them to participate in all fields.
- Initiate respect for general and individual freedoms, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of the press, political, labor, and cultural freedoms, and freedom to form parties and associations.
The Political Process
- Publicly reject force and violence as a way to solve Syria’s crisis.
- Publicly support a Syrian-only national dialogue.
- Establish a constituent assembly that represents all of Syria’s ethnicities, religions and sects.
- Form a transitional government with broad powers.
- The goal of the political process is to end tyranny in all its forms, to bring about comprehensive, groundbreaking, and democratic change, and to rebuild Syria based upon a decentralized democratic system that is guaranteed by a constitution agreed upon by Syrians. This system will respond to the Syrian will to live together in peace under one national affiliation, in which the powers of government and matters of sovereignty are distributed between the center and the periphery in a way that achieves full partnership and public participation within Syrian territory.
- Annul the current Syrian constitution and establish a national committee to draft a new social contract.
- Set a clear timetable for political transition in Syria, which includes national and regional elections.
- Abolish all racist laws, procedures, and projects.
- Form a body for peace, justice, and reconciliation.
- Establish a national security council charged with the responsibility of (a) integrating those Syrian national fighters who have committed to the nation’s peace and security to serve in a new national army, as well as (b) reconstruct Syria’s security and law enforcement services to serve only the interests of the homeland, regions and the peoples of Syria.
- Establish a national economic council entrusted with developing and managing a post-war reconstruction plan for Syria.
- Ensure women’s fair participation in the Syrian national dialogue and political process as a prerequisite for the success of the negotiating process and ensuring women’s rights constitutionally.
- The transitional government shall abide by the agreed-upon items regarding the distribution of powers and powers between the center and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).
- The transitional government shall take the necessary means and measures to refer to the constitution and hold elections.
- The functions and powers of the transitional government shall end with the first session of the Legislative Council.