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 Text of SAF letter to President Obama



President Barack Obama
The White House

January 22, 2014

Dear Mr. President

As the long overdue conference in Geneva regarding Syria started, the Syrian American Forum (SAF), an organization representing thousands of Americans of Syrian descent in the USA, would like to express its support to this conference and to your overall efforts to achieve peace in Syria. The efforts of our Secretary of State who has been working diligently for months on this conference should aim at achieving a peaceful end with the consent and participation of all Syrians. The solution must be Syrian and by the Syrians.

The crisis in Syria has been going on for almost three years. Signs of chaos and terrorism were evident from the outset. The Syrian people noted with alarm the extremist and fundamentalist tendencies and their growth throughout this crisis. Unfortunately, and contrary to the prevailing view, terrorism was infiltrating the country and witnessed nothing but growth and flourishing in lawless areas. Yet, it was clearly obvious then, as it is now, that no military solution to this crisis was achievable.

Three years on; terrorism is spreading, hatred is growing, killing is increasing, and fundamentalism is threatening the mere fabric of the secular Syrian society. Nothing but an end to violence and a serious political process are going to cease this catastrophe facing the Syrian people. While groups fighting in Syria threaten the national security of our United States, some in Congress and the Administration remain fixated on identifying imaginary ‘moderate’ armed groups out of self-identified Al-Qaeda terrorists to topple the Syrian Government by force. This is an unachievable objective that will result in the killing of many more thousands of Syrians while destroying the fabric of Syria. Further supporting, financing and arming these armed groups will only prolong the killing and destruction and suffering of the Syrian people, to no avail.

The influence and efforts of the United States should be exerted to guarantee an immediate stop to the flow of extremists from other countries to Syria, and an immediate end to funneling weaponry and other support to terrorists and extremist groups fighting in Syria. No country or party should be allowed to hijack the future of the Syrian people by feeding and fueling the current war.

All parties, local and foreign, must now engage genuinely with this Geneva process. The parties must be prepared to put forward effective interlocutors to work expeditiously towards a Syrian-led settlement that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. As clearly stated in the Geneva declaration, it is for the Syrians, and Syrians only, to determine the future of their country.

Mr. President,

As Americans of Syrian descent, we thrive on the principles of separation of church and state, freedom of religion and speech, free elections and democracy. These values can never be implemented on the account of certain segments of a society. Hence, no foreign entity can claim representation of the aspirations of any people. We urge you to put the moral weight of our country on the side of political settlement to this chaotic endless war in order to protect us as Americans, and protect our extended families back in Syria.