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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 1 November, 2014

Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss situation in Syria today

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore will attend the Oireachtas meeting.

Protesters stand on a crossed picture of Syrian President Bashar Assad during a rally against his regime in front of the Syrian embassy in Belgrade.
Protesters stand on a crossed picture of Syrian President Bashar Assad during a rally against his regime in front of the Syrian embassy in Belgrade.
Image: Darko Vojinovic/AP/Press Association Images

AN OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE on Foreign Affairs is to discuss the current situation in Syria at a meeting later today.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore will attend the talks.

The committee said it is keen to hear what the EU is doing in relation to the “dire situation” in Syria.

“Shocking and disturbing footage of torture is emerging from Syria, along with reports of medical staff aiding the torture of opponents of the Assad regime,” said chairman Pat Breen.

This comes on the back of reports from Médicins sans Frontières that medicine was being used as a weapon of persecution by the Syrian regime, he added.

There has also been further incontrovertible evidence of this in recent days with the deplorable action of the Syrian authorities in obstructing Red Cross and Red Crescent workers from bringing assistance to the sick and injured.

Breen said the committee also wants to figure out what effect international pressure can have on the situation in Syria. He called on Ireland and its international partners to act decisively to protect the lives of the civilian population in Syria.

The meeting will take place at 5.30pm and can be followed live here. Other issues to be discussed include forthcoming EU Foreign Affairs Council Meetings and Irish Aid Policy.

On Monday, Gilmore pledged €500,000 to humanitarian agencies working on the ground in Syria.

The UN has said that more than 7,500 people have been killed in a brutal crackdown by President Bashar Assad against a rebellion that began last year.

More: Ireland to pledge €500,000 in response to Syria crisis>

Related: Patients ‘tortured’ by doctors in Syrian hospital>

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