Friends of Syria Group

The second Group of Friends of the Syrian People meeting in Istanbul, Turkey on 1 April 2012

The Group of Friends of the Syrian People[1] (sometimes: Friends of Syria Group or Friends of the Syrian People Group or Friends of Democratic Syria or simply Friends of Syria) is an international diplomatic collective of countries and bodies convening periodically on the topic of Syria outside the U.N. Security Council. The collective was created in response to a Russian and Chinese veto on a Security Council resolution condemning Syria.

History, purpose

The group was initiated by then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy, with the purpose to find a solution to the Syrian conflict, after Russia and China had vetoed a 4 February 2012 UN Security Council resolution.[2] Its first meeting took place on 24 February 2012 in Tunisia.[3] The second meeting took place the same year on 1 April in Istanbul, Turkey.[4] The third meeting of the Friends of Syria took place in Paris in early July 2012.[5] The fourth summit took place in Marrakesh in December 2012.

Inaugural conference in Tunis

On 24 February 2012, the Friends of Syria met for the first time, in Tunis. Prior activities included a diplomatic push by Hillary Clinton and her associates like Anne-Marie Slaughter and Michael Hirsh, who wrote pieces in favour of intervention in the American press. Slaughter imagined that Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan would be able to create "no-kill zones", and argued that Syria was more central to American interests than Libya had been.[6] The Syrian National Council, who were accused by some of being a front for the Muslim Brotherhood,[7] featured prominently at the conference, and issued a seven-point list of demands, among which,[8]

If the regime fails to accept the terms of the political initiative outlined by the Arab League and end violence against citizens, the Friends of Syria should not constrain individual countries from aiding the Syrian opposition by means of military advisers, training and provision of arms to defend themselves.

Istanbul conference

Participants at the Istanbul conference on 1 April 2012

Seventy nations participated in the conference held on 1 April 2012 to support Syrian opposition and increase pressure on the Syrian government. The Syrian National Council claiming the opposition is now united called for "serious action" and said they will "take charge of the payment of fixed salaries of Free Syrian Army". The Turkish PM defended what he called "Syrians' right to self-defence" and demanded the international community to speak up for the Syrian people. "We also believe the international community has a moral obligation to act. The bloodshed in Syria must stop," He added. Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani (Qatari Prime Minister), Arab League Secretariat and contemporary US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supported taking stronger measures against the Syrian government.[4]

The Government-owned Syrian Arab News Agency denounced the meeting calling it "a series of related circles of conspiracy against Syria" and identified participants as "enemies of Syria".[4]

Paris conference

The third meeting of the Friends of Syria group opened on 6 July 2012 in Paris, France. Speakers addressing the meeting included William Hague, Laurent Fabius, Ahmet Davutoğlu, and Hillary Clinton.[5]

Marrakesh conference

The fourth meeting of the Friends of Syria group opened on 11 December 2012 in Marrakesh, Morocco.[9]

Rome Feb. 2013 meeting

In February 2013, only 11 members of the Friends of Syria held their meeting in Rome.[10]

Amman conference

On 22 May 2013, a conference in Amman was opened to discuss the US-Russian proposal for peace talks.[11]

Doha conference

On 22 June 2013, a conference in Doha was opened to discuss how to organise the delivery of military and other kinds of aid for Syrian rebels.[12]


The conference in Marrakech, on 12 December 2012, was attended by delegates of 114 states.[13]

In 2013, however, the number of nations represented at the meetings fell to 11.[10][14]


Current members of Friends of Syria, which met in 2013 in Rome, Istanbul[10][14] and London, are often referred to as the 'London 11'.[15]

  •  Egypt
  •  France
  •  Germany
  •  Italy
  •  Jordan
  •  Qatar
  •  Saudi Arabia
  •  Turkey
  •  United Arab Emirates
  •  United Kingdom
  •  United States


Syrian opposition groups

International organisations

International organizations participating in the Friends of Syria conference included:[16]

External links

See also


  1. "The Second Conference of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People will take place in İstanbul". Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
  2. "France, partners planning Syria crisis group: Sarkozy". Reuters. 4 Feb 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  3. "'Friends of Syria' to call for UN to plan mission". Associated Press. 24 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 Staff writer (1 April 2012). "Syria opposition: Don't prolong catastrophe". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  5. 1 2 "'Friends of Syria' push for tougher sanctions". France 24. 7 July 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  6. "How to Halt the Butchery in Syria", 23 Feb 2012
  7. "Islamists seek influence in Syria uprising" (AP), 21 Mar 2012
  8. "Syria’s opposition gets recognition, not arms", 24 Feb 2012
  9. "Foreign Secretary to attend Friends of Syria meeting in Marrakesh". GOV.UK. 11 December 2012.
  10. 1 2 3 "US set to boost support for Syria opposition". 2013-02-28. Retrieved 2013-05-24.
  11. AFP (22 May 2013). "Friends of Syria meet as conflict escalates". Daily Star.
  13. "Friends of Syria recognizes opposition coalition as legitimate representative of Syrian people". 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2013-05-24.
  14. 1 2 "Friends of Syria Deliver Nothing New". 2013-04-21. Retrieved 2013-05-24.
  15. "London 11 Meeting On Syria". UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  16. "Chairman's Conclusions of the International Conference of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People, 24 February". US Department of State. 24 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  17. "The Ambassador expressed the Indonesian position concerning conflict in Syria in the Friends of Syria Conference". Indonesia Embassy in Tunisia. 27 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
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