The Syrian Coalition called on the UN Security Council to hold the Assad regime accountable for the horrific crime his forces committed in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in the rural Idlib at dawn today. Chemical substances were used in the attack which left at least 100 people killed and over 400 wounded, mostly women and children, according to the directorate of health in Idlib province.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Coalition said that early photos and videos of the aftermath of the attack clearly show a horrible crime similar to the one the Assad regime committed in eastern Ghouta near Damascus in the summer of 2013, which the international community allowed to go unpunished.
The Coalition called upon the UN Security Council to hold an emergency session to address this crime and conduct an immediate investigation into it. Urgent measures need to be taken to ensure that those who ordered, executed, supported and are involved in the attack are held accountable under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the Coalition said.
“The failure to take concrete, urgent action would be understood by the Assad regime as a blessing for its actions. Inaction is no more an option as it amounts to direct involvement and even direct responsibility for those crimes,” the Coalition added.
The Assad regime’s air force also carried out a massacre against civilians in the town of Douma in eastern Ghouta on Monday claiming the lives of at least 32 people, including women and children.
The Assad regime continues to use internationally prohibited weapons in bombing civilian areas in a blatant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN Security Council resolutions 2118, 2209, 2235 and 2254.
“These crimes would not have happened again had it not been for the lukewarm response by the international community and its failure to ensure protection for civilians,” the Coalition said.
The Coalition called for the implementation of Article 21 of UN Security Council resolution 2118, which says the Council would take measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter in case of noncompliance, including the transfer and use of chemical weapons. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
At least five civilians were killed and many others were wounded in airstrikes by the Assad regime’s air force on the towns of Saqba and Hammouriya in eastern Ghouta in the early morning hours of Monday.
Activists in eastern Ghouta said that most of those injured were women and children, adding that the airstrikes caused massive damage to residential buildings.
A civilian was also killed and many others were wounded in airstrikes that targeted the towns of Arbin and Jisreen in eastern Ghouta, activists said.
The Syrian Coalition’s media department recorded at least 45 violations of the truce by the Assad regime and its allies on Sunday. The majority of the violations took place in the provinces of Idlib, Hama, and Rural Damascus.
Around 30 airstrikes hit the district of Jobar in eastern Damascus on Sunday, resulting in many civilian casualties and widespread destruction.
The Syrian Coalition held Russia directly responsible for undermining the ceasefire and emphasized that Russia must stop its support for the regime. The Coalition also said that Russia needs to start acting responsibly as a permanent member of the UN Security council responsible for maintaining international peace and security, a sponsor of the political process and a guarantor of the ceasefire agreement in Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Baladi News Network)
Head of the opposition negotiation’s delegation to Geneva talks said that negotiations have not resulted in any substantial progress, blaming the Assad regime for the failure of the previous rounds of negotiations.
Nasr Hariri, head of the delegation of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) stressed that the Assad regime is to blame for the stalled talks which wrapped up on Friday. He reiterated the HNC’s commitment to make negotiations a success.
At a press conference in the UN headquarters in Geneva on Friday, Hariri said that the HNC’s delegation insisted on discussing political transition and its various aspects. "To this point negotiations have not resulted in relative progress, but we hope it did not fail altogether.”
Hariri pointed out that the opposition delegation discussed the constitutional procedures governing the political process "to guarantee the rights of the Syrian people" and the security measures to be implemented during the transitional period, in addition to holding elections which is supposed to take place at the end of the transitional period.
“Through its participation in the Geneva talks, the opposition is seeking to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people," Hariri added. He noted that the Assad regime has killed more than 1,000 civilians since the fifth round of talks began on February 23.
"Accountability for crimes committed in Syria should not be a subject for negotiations,” Hariri added.
The HNC’s delegation also sought to ensure the implementation of the humanitarian provisions set out in UN resolutions and to reach a just political solution without Bashar al-Assad and his clique.
"We cannot say that negotiations succeeded or failed. We are fully aware that negotiations would be lengthy and difficult, but the other a party does not want to negotiate.”
"They are solely discussing their empty rhetoric about countering terrorism, although they attracted terrorism to region, they used all kinds of weapons, and they used siege and chemical weapons against the Syrian people," Hariri went on.
Remarking on the Russian position concerning recent developments in Syria, Hariri pointed out that while claiming to support a political process, Moscow continues to support the Assad regime and contribute to demographic change that is being carried out by the Assad regime in Syria.
“These two factors contradict one another,” Hariri stressed. “On the ground, they are helping the regime and contributing to displacement and demographic change, while also claiming to support the political process.” (Source: Syrian Coalition's Media Department + Agencies)