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Public Service International is the global federation of public sector unions, representing 650 affiliated trade unions in 148 countries and territories world-wide, uniting more than 20 million public sector workers. 

CUPE is a proud and active affiliate of PSI, and is sharing this important statement on the ongoing situation in Syria.

On the eve of a vote in the United States that could launch an international military offensive against Syria, Public Services International General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli states, “We condemn any use of chemical weapons, particularly against innocent civilians, as has been reported in Syria. We also denounce any retaliatory military intervention which can only worsen the humanitarian situation.

PSI is very concerned for the safety of Syrian civilians who’ve been suffering violence and war for two years now. We are concerned for the well-being of millions of refugees who’ve been displaced inside Syria or fled to neighbouring countries.

Experience with the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan clearly shows that complex internal political issues in the Middle East cannot be solved through civil war or outside military intervention, without intolerable costs to human life and dignity. Sustainable solutions can only be found through international community pressure and support for dialogue and negotiated solutions within Syria.

We call on all parties in Syria to lay down their weapons and work together to build a transitional government based on values such as inclusiveness, gender equality, and respect for international human rights laws. We urge all nations to work together to support peace, not more war in Syria. An escalation of war in Syria could further destabilize the already precarious situation in the region, including in Egypt.”

American President Barack Obama has asked Congress to support retaliation against the Assad regime because of the Syrian government’s alleged use of sarin gas in a deadly attack on 21 August that apparently killed nearly 1,500 people and injured scores more. There are reports that more than 7 million Syrians have been displaced by the ongoing civil war.

The United Kingdom’s House of Commons has voted against the possibility of military intervention against President Bashar al-Assad. France is the only major European ally supporting military strikes against Syria.

The Syrian Revolution started more than two years ago as a largely peaceful protest against the brutal dictatorship of the Assad regime and the Baath Party. Although the revolution has since turned into a violent civil war struggle for power, the popular call for human rights, dignity and a free and inclusive Syria remains.