This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Plenary speech on the situation in Syria

Mr President, let me start by offering my condolences on the death of Ahmad Shihadeh, a policy officer at the EU representation in Damascus. Sadly the days when the deaths of individuals in Syria make European news are rare. Even as people are murdered by tens of thousands, we are still searching for solutions. While millions are on the run and countless are wounded and missing, what is the value of a human life? Commissioner Georgieva wrote today that we need a political solution, yet many, including European citizens, are taking up arms and joining extremist networks that take the space that is left by the international community. The people in Syria are increasingly crushed between the murderous regime and violent extremists. Today, opposition members even took to the streets to demonstrate against Al-Nusra. It is a huge mistake to pretend that all opposition consists of extremists. We as the European Union must get aid to the people and take the initiative for a UN mandate enabling direct cross‑border operations from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Let us get more deeply involved in what happens in the refugee camps, so women do not continue to be abused and extremists cannot infiltrate. We need a strategy for the day after Assad – in a country full of weapons, with deep wounds, where there is such a desire for revenge in an ethnically-mixed society. Concretely, the EU should also take in more Syrian refugees itself. We need to put Hezbollah on the EU’s terror list and we must do more to push Russia and others blocking a real political solution to finally take a stance and stop the killing of innocent civilians in Syria.