Earlier this week dozens of Syrian civilians were killed in US-led airstrikes near the city of Manbij. This is not only a tragic loss of innocent life, but it also endangers US interests in the region and provides a powerful recruitment tool for terrorist groups like ISIS. Because of the civilian casualties, Syrian opposition groups have asked the US to suspend airstrikes.
While Syria remains engulfed in a prolonged civil war, punctuated by the the brutal atrocities of ISIS and President Assad, we cannot bring peace or combat terrorism if we create more suffering for innocent people caught in the crossfire. American bombs cannot stop Assad and ISIS’ atrocities, and when those bombs kill civilians, they add fuel to the fires of war, driving recruits to ISIS and rallying support to Assad.
To make matters worse, reports indicate that recently, a group of Syrian rebels that had been previously armed by America committed a brutal atrocity, beheading a young boy they had captured. This type of brutality calls into question the alleged ‘vetting’ these groups have gone through before they are given deadly weapons, purchased by American taxpayers.
This has to stop.
As Americans, these bombings and the arming of rebels are being done in our name with our tax dollars. These shocking events − the killing of innocent civilians and the atrocities of militants we armed − warrant an immediate halt to all military operations in Syria. We must call on President Obama to order an immediate cessation of American military action in Syria in order to enable a thorough investigation of the dangers posed by our actions and an evaluation of safeguards to protect against the killing of civilians and support for forces that may commit war crimes.
The Syrian war remains a fire burning in the heart of the Middle East. We must stop pouring gasoline on that fire.