Friends of Syria Group

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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, Friends of the Syrian People Group, 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.[2]

History, purpose[edit]

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.[3] Its first meeting took place on 24 February 2012 in Tunisia.[4] The second meeting took place the same year on 1 April in Istanbul, Turkey.[5] The third meeting of the Friends of Syria took place in Paris in early July 2012.[6] The fourth summit took place in Marrakesh in December 2012.

Inaugural conference in Tunisia[edit]

On 24 February 2012, the Friends of Syria met for the first time, in Tunis. Then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. officials Anne-Marie Slaughter and Michael Hirsh advocated 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.[7] The Syrian National Council 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[edit]

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.[5]

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".[5]

Paris conference[edit]

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.[6]

Marrakesh conference[edit]

The fourth meeting of the Friends of Syria group opened on 12 December 2012 in Marrakesh, Morocco.[9]

Rome February 2013 meeting[edit]

On 28 February 2013, only 11 members of the Friends of Syria held their meeting in Rome.[10]

Amman conference[edit]

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

Doha conference[edit]

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]

Syrian opposition groups[edit]

International organisations[edit]

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

See also[edit]


  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. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  2. ^ Eric W. Schoon and Scott W. Duxbury. "Robust Discourse and the Politics of Legitimacy: Framing International Intervention in the Syrian Civil war". Sociological Science. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  3. ^ "France, partners planning Syria crisis group: Sarkozy". Reuters. 4 February 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  4. ^ [dead link]"'Friends of Syria' to call for UN to plan mission". Associated Press. 24 February 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Staff writer (1 April 2012). "Syria opposition: Don't prolong catastrophe". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  6. ^ a b "'Friends of Syria' push for tougher sanctions". France 24. 7 July 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  7. ^ "How to Halt the Butchery in Syria", 23 February 2012
  8. ^ "Syria’s opposition gets recognition, not arms" Archived 8 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine, 24 February 2012
  9. ^ "Foreign Secretary to attend Friends of Syria meeting in Marrakesh". GOV.UK. 11 December 2012.
  10. ^ a b c "US set to boost support for Syria opposition". 28 February 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  11. ^ Agence France-Presse (22 May 2013). "Friends of Syria meet as conflict escalates". Daily Star.
  12. ^ "'Friends of Syria' debate arming rebels". Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Friends of Syria recognizes opposition coalition as legitimate representative of Syrian people". 12 December 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  14. ^ a b "Friends of Syria Deliver Nothing New". 21 April 2013. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  15. ^ "London 11 Meeting on Syria". UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  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 3 March 2012.
  17. ^ "The Ambassador expressed the Indonesian position concerning conflict in Syria in the Friends of Syria Conference". Indonesia Embassy in Tunisia. 27 February 2012. Archived from the original on 20 April 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2012.

External links[edit]