Emergency Debate – The Situation in Syria

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Ottawa Centre for his comments and for focusing on what we know to be a dreadful humanitarian crisis.

I am hearing from refugees from Syria in my own community that there are also systematic rapes of women occurring. I cannot verify this, but they are hearing from relatives that rapes are also occurring in the refugee camps, where people are also at risk.

What I would like to ask is whether we should be pushing as hard as possible for a peace process for bringing people to the table, bearing in mind that we would be getting involved in a military conflict where we are not sure which side we would want to see in power?

In that context, does the hon. member think there is some potential for pushing Russia to get Assad to the table for real negotiations with all the players to get to a ceasefire and a peace process?

Paul Dewar: Mr. Speaker, recent reports show there is the potential for an international conference. Secretary of State Kerry has just concluded meetings with his counterpart Lavrov, in Moscow, and we are hopeful that an international conference will happen.

It was also noted that there had not been, as there had been in the past, any adherence by Moscow as to what the status of Mr. Assad would be. I say that because this is a bit of a change from what the news reports. There might be other reports that we hear later. There is a sense right now that even Russia is getting concerned and fatigued with the situation in Syria.

What we must do is to be focused on what the member has underlined, that there has to be a political solution to this. Diplomacy should be ramped up and we should ensure that our friends in Russia get the message yet again that it has a role here. It has been supplying arms, everyone knows that, and if this continues, it will be even more culpable than it was before.