PACE backs plan for political transition towards peace and stability in Syria

PACE has urged the international community to "seize the current opportunity to find lasting peace” in Syria, and back a UN-led proposal to set up a Constitutional Committee.

The parliamentarians urged all parties to make progress on the establishment of a “legitimate, credible, diverse and balanced” body, which could draft a constitutional reform, making use of the expertise of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.

In a resolution based on a report by Theodora Bakoyannis (Greece, EPP/CD), the Assembly said the war in Syria has led to “one of the worst humanitarian crises the world has faced since World War II”, driving some 11.7 million people to flee their homes, including 5.6 million beyond its borders.

It urged all parties involved in military operations to avoid harm to civilians and to “facilitate safe, rapid, unhindered and sustained humanitarian assistance” and called on Council of Europe member States to repatriate captured foreign fighters and their families and put them on trial.

The Assembly urged all parties to the conflict, and Council of Europe member and observer States, to co-operate fully with the UN mechanism to assist investigations, and called on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Finally, the Assembly expressed deep appreciation for the efforts made by Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt to accommodate Syrian refugees, and said the crisis was “the responsibility not only of neighbouring States and of Europe, but of the whole international community”.