The Syrian Coalition said that the Assad regime and Russia are carrying on with the genocide in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta. It said that military operations by the Assad regime and its allies did not stop, adding that one of the massacres claimed the lives of head of the local council in the town of Shifoniyah Mohammed Jamous and two members of the council.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Coalition said: “The Assad regime and Russia are showing total disregard for the resolution, making it a dead letter and an opportunity to carry on with the genocide in eastern Ghouta.”
“After cherishing hope that the UN resolution will provide them with some relief, civilians in eastern Ghouta are now enduring unimaginable suffering,” the press release added.
The Syrian Coalition stressed that “Russia, which has become a key party to the conflict, bears direct responsibility for war crimes being committed in Syria thus providing a free service to transnational terrorism and terrorist organizations.”
The Coalition extended its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims as it reiterates its condemnation of all crimes against the Syrian people.
The Coalition called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards Syrian civilians as it called on the United Nations and the UN Security Council to overcome Russia’s continued disabling of the Council. It also called for urgent measures and the exertion of real pressure to stop the ongoing genocide in eastern Ghouta. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition’s political committee and head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasser al-Hariri, on Tuesday held a teleconference with leading figures in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta to discuss the Assad regime and Russia’s ongoing violations of UN Security Council resolution 2401.
The two sides agreed to form a joint working room to coordinate their positions and seek the implementation of resolution 2401. Leaders in eastern Ghouta presented a list of the most urgent needs of the civilian population to be sent via the Syrian Negotiations Commission to the UN relief agencies and include these needs in the UN aid.
Both sides also agreed to exchange and document information as well as to prepare detailed reports to be presented to the UN Security Council with the aim of documenting the violations being committed by the Assad regime and its allies.
Member of the political committee Hadi Al-Bahra said that Moscow’s announcement of daily five-hour truce in eastern Ghouta violated resolution 2401 and is aimed at evading the implementation of the UN resolution. He stressed that Russia’s demands for the departure of civilians from eastern Ghouta is a distortion of the UN resolution and an attempt to displace the local population with the aim of changing the demographic landscape in the Damascus suburb. Bahra stressed that these demands are unacceptable.
For his part, Hariri pointed out that "loose words" have been included in the final draft of UN Security Council resolution 2401, which allows the Assad regime and its allies to procrastinate in its implementation and carry on with the pursuit of a military solution. He underscored that members of the UN Security Council should “impose measures to punish those who violates the resolution or it will remain useless.”
Leaders in eastern Ghouta presented a detailed explanation of the latest developments on the humanitarian and field level in the area. They emphasized they would remain steadfast in the face of the Assad regime’s killing machine as they will continue to seek to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people to freedom and democracy.
The leaders also reaffirmed their outright rejection of extremism and commitment to combat all forms of terrorism. They also expressed their support for the positions of the Syrian Negotiations Commissions rejecting any agreements that would result in the forced displacement of the local population and bringing about a demographic change in the area. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr Hariri, slammed Russia’s actions in Syria and the way it interpreted UN Security Council resolution 2401. He stressed that Russia’s actions had rendered the UN resolution useless as he warned that the resolution might become counterproductive.
Hariri on Tuesday said that the UN resolution 2401 "has become meaningless following Russia’s announcement of a daily ceasefire and the opening of safe passages for civilians to leave eastern Ghouta.” He noted that the move is aimed at “emptying eastern Ghouta of its people to bring about a demographic change in the area," describing the announcement as “utterly unacceptable.”
Hariri pointed out that Moscow is “undermining all chances for a political solution by the commission of more crimes against the Syrian people and the issuance of provocative, misleading statements that have exposed Russia’s real intentions.” He stressed that the Syrian people will stick to their demands for the departure of the criminal Bashar al-Assad, slamming the Russian position which sees in such demands a form of extremism.
Russia on Monday announced it would implement a five-hour unilateral truce in eastern Ghouta, contrary to calls by UN Security Council resolution 2401 for a 30-day truce. It also said it would establish an evacuation corridor to allow people to leave the besieged Damascus suburb. As per UN resolution 2401, these corridors were supposed to be used for the introduction of humanitarian aid to the trapped civilians.
The Commission’s spokesman, Yahya Aridi, said that "there was no difference between the use of veto on the UN Security Council and the veto on the ground. “Criminal Putin used the 12th veto in eastern Ghouta," Aridi said, stressimg that all Russian and Iranian forces are legitimate targets along with the entire tyrannical Assad regime.
UN Security Council on Saturday and following repeated delays unanimously adopted resolution 2401 calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.
Local activists said that the resolution was not implemented as Russian and Assad regime forces continued their ground and aerial attacks in eastern Ghouta, killing dozens of civilians. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Local news networks said that military operations by the Assad regime and its allies did not stop across Syria as dozens of civilians were killed and injured in relentless aerial bombardment of residential areas in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta.
Baladi News Network quoted its correspondent in eastern Ghouta as saying that Russian jets carried out multiple airstrikes on the town of Douma in the early morning hours of Monday. The airstrikes killed at least 10 civilians from one family and injuring two others.
The Syrian Negotiations Commission expressed hope that UN Security Council resolution 2401 demanding a ceasefire in Syria would be implemented, especially as the Assad regime and its allies have a track record of violating all previous resolutions on Syria.
The Commission said in a statement that it "does not rule out that the Assad regime will violate the ceasefire as it did many times in the past as long as it feels secure from punishment and accountability.” It warned of the consequences of failure to enforce the UN resolution, stressing that “every minute of delay means the loss of more lives of children and women in Syria.”
The Commission pointed out that the majority of the victims of the bombings are civilians. "It is a disgrace to humanity that Syrian remains a battlefield for competition between the major stakeholders who obstruct the process of political solution. We are aware that peoples of the world do not accept that blood of the Syrian people continues to be shed."
“We hope that UN Security Council resolution 2401 will have the necessary implementation mechanisms and tools," the Commission added. It also expressed hope that it will represent "a quick step to enforce UN resolution 2254 through a comprehensive cease-fire, the lifting of the sieges, and the introduction of humanitarian assistance."
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday said that he expected resolution 2401 to be “immediately implemented and sustained, particularly to ensure the immediate, safe, unimpeded and sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and services, the evacuation of the critically sick and the wounded, and the alleviation of the suffering of the Syrian people."
Germany and France called on Russia to put "maximum pressure" on the Assad regime to ensure "immediate" implementation of UN resolution 2401.
In a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macaron stressed the vital importance of a immediate and comprehensive implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2401, according to a statement issued by the German Chancellor's Office.
UN Security Council resolution 2401 calls for 30-day ceasefire across Syria and the lifting of the sieges imposed by the Assad regime and its allied militias on eastern Ghouta and the rest of besieged areas in Syria.
The adoption of resolution 2401, which was proposed by Kuwait and Sweden, came after more than 500 civilians, including about 100 children, were killed in a week of heavy bombardment by the Assad regime and Russian air forces of the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta. Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee, Yasser Farhan, said that putting an end to mass forced displacement operations in Syria must be a priority of the United Nations. He stressed that the UN, which is leading the political process and negotiations in Syria, should prioritize the return of all those who were forcefully displaced from to their homes across Syria.
Farhan was speaking during a side event at the 37th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council in the Swiss city of Geneva on Monday to discuss the mass forced displacement and demographic change operations in Syria.
Participants in the side event included members of the Syrian Coalition, representatives of the Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, Syrian civil society organizations, as well as eyewitnesses who were forced out of their homes in Syria.
Farhan pointed out that there were major parties involved in mass forced displacement and demographic change operations in Syria, chiefly among them is the Assad regime and militias of the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Farhan said that around 400,000 civilians who currently live in the besieged eastern Ghouta near Damascus are threatened with mass forced displacement should international resolutions, especially resolution 2401, are left unimplemented. UN Security Council resolution 2401, which calls for nationwide ceasefire, should pave the way for the implementation of resolution 2254, which calls for a comprehensive cease-fire, the lifting of the sieges, the delivery of humanitarian aid, and the release of detainees, he added.
Ahmed al-Yousef, a volunteer with the Syrian Civil Defense, said that regime forces besiege civilians with the aim of forcing them to move to other areas. He noted that the Assad regime carried out 16 forced displacement operations in 11 different areas across Syria.
Yousef stressed that the opening of humanitarian corridors should be aimed at the introduction of relief aid and the evacuation of civilians as was the case in some areas across Syria. He underscored that mass forced displacement constitutes war crimes whose perpetrators must be held accountable. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The humanitarian tragedy in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta continues to worsen as bombardment on populated areas by the Assad regime and its allies continues unabated. The UN Security Council on Friday failed once again to take action to put an end to the carnage in the besieged Damascus suburb.
Rural Damascus Provincial Council, which is part of the Syrian Interim Government’s Ministry of Local Administration, sent a letter to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan via the Syrian Coalition calling for urgent action to protect women and children in eastern Ghouta and prevent a ground assault by Assad regime forces and the Iranian militias on the area. The Council warned of possible atrocities should regime forces and their allied foreign militias storm the area.
The letter also urged the Turkish President to work to ensure the siege is completely lifted given the big impact such move will have at the international and Islamic levels.
A video showing a grieving Syrian family in eastern Ghouta whose son was killed in the Assad regime’s aerial bombardment went viral on social media sites on Friday. Grandfather of the slain child, who was on the verge of nervous breakdown, said he wanted the kid to die so that he suffers no more agony. The video exemplified the tragic humanitarian conditions and the plight of civilians trapped in eastern Ghouta.
Eastern Ghouta has been under tightened siege for five years. The siege has been accompanied by constant bombing by regime forces claiming the levies of thousands of civilians and causing massive destruction in the Damascus suburb. Moreover, dozens have died of hunger, disease, and injury as the blockade has caused severe shortages of food and medical supplies.
According to the UN, more than 400 people were killed and around 1,000 others in the relentless bombardment on eastern Ghouta in the past four days. Local activists confirmed that the Assad regime and its allies are using internationally banned weapons, such as the white phosphorus, in the attacks on eastern Ghouta.
In a press conference held on Friday, Vice-President of the Syrian Coalition Salwa Aksoy called for preventing Russia from voting on any draft resolution related to Syria as Russia is a main party to the war against the Syrian people. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition called on the UN Security Council to prevent Russia from voting on the resolutions on Syria as Russia is a party to the massacres taking place in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta.
Vice-president of the Coalition Salwa Aksoy said that Moscow is a key party to the conflict in Syria as it intervened against the Syrian people. According to the United Nations Charter, countries that are parties to conflicts cannot vote on draft resolutions at the UN Security Council, Aksoy said, stressing that "allowing Russia to vote will keep the Security Council disabled.”
"We salute the heroic resilience of our people in eastern Ghouta and the bravery of the Free Syrian Army fighters in defending their people and their land,” Aksoy said. She called for an immediate end to the siege of eastern Ghouta and for holding accountable the Iranian and other militias involved in the siege of the Damascus suburb.
Aksoy stressed that genocide and crimes against humanity are taking place in eastern Ghouta in violation of International Law and International Humanitarian Law. She held Russia directly responsibile for these crimes as she underscored that Russia’s actions only serve transnational terrorism and terrorist organizations.
Furthermore, Aksoy called for the enforcement of Article 21 of UN Security Council resolution 2118 to punish those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. She called for an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly to take action to protect civilians in eastern Ghouta from the continued bombardment and violations. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Demonstrations were held in European cities and capitals to show solidarity with the people of the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta which has been subjected to ferocious onslaught by Assad regime forces and their allies over the past few days. According to international aid groups, the onslaught on eastern Ghouta has killed and injured more than 1,500 people since Sunday.
Demonstrators expressed outrage over the repeated failure of the UN Security Council to take action to stop the Assad regime’s crimes against civilians. They held Russia fully responsible for these crimes as they held signs that read ‘Russia is killing Syrian civilians.’
Demonstrators called for an immediate end to the genocide against civilians and for forcing the Assad regime back to the negotiating table. They also called for the implementation of international resolutions calling for bringing about full political transition in Syria in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Eastern Ghouta has been subjected to intensifying assault by the Assad regime forces and the Iranian militias backed by Russian aerial support resulting in mass civilian casualties.
Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on Wednesday said that initial reports from MSF-supported facilities in eastern Ghouta indicated that 1,285 people were wounded and 237 others killed over the past three days, from February 18th to the early morning of February 21st.
The medical charity said that a “mass-casualty influxes, with hundreds of dead and wounded,” have been reported to the MSF-supported facilities in besieged eastern Ghouta.
“Thirteen hospitals and clinics that receive support from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have been damaged or destroyed over the past three days amid an extraordinary increase in bombing and shelling over the Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta,” MSF added.
“Meanwhile, lifesaving medical supplies urgently needed to treat mass casualties are being restricted by the ongoing siege on the area.”
Mark Lowcock, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, called for unconditional humanitarian truce in eastern Gouta and across Syria. He quoted a relief worker in the Damascus suburb as saying that “the last two months, military operations turned into a process of systematic targeting of civilians.”
In a statement to the UN Security Council on the situation in Syria on Thursday, Lowcock said that “the office of the UN Special Envoy in Geneva has, just in the past three days, received thousands of messages on instant messaging applications from civilians there. They are pleading for our help.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition said that the UN Security Council is facing a "moral challenge" as its members will convene today to vote on a draft resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria.
The vote comes as the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta is coming under a fierce military offensive by regime forces and their allies which killed hundreds of civilians, including many women and children in the past three days.
Secretary-General of the Coalition Nazir al-Hakim said: "The continued failure of the UN Security Council to assume its responsibilities is no longer acceptable. The vote on the draft resolution today poses a moral challenge and any failure will damage the credibility of the international system."
Hakim also said that the Coalition stands ready to participate in today's meeting to brief the UN Security Council on the dire humanitarian situation in Syria, especially in eastern Ghouta.
Hakim pointed out that what is happening in many Syrian cities and towns, especially in eastern Ghouta, shows how the Assad regime and its backers are exploiting the political initiatives and the political and negotiating process in Geneva. "The ball is now in the court of the UN Security Council. We look forward for the session to be held later today,” Hakim said.
The draft resolution, which was presented by Kuwait and Sweden, calls for allowing medical evacuations and the delivery of humanitarian aid to the besieged and affected areas.
The US ambassador to the UN called for an end to human suffering in the besieged eastern Ghouta. In a statement on Wednesday, Nikki Haley urged the Security Council to pass a draft resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta.
"It’s time to take immediate action in the hopes of saving the lives of the men, women, and children who are under attack by the barbaric Assad regime," Haley said.
France on Tuesday said that the bombings on eastern Ghouta by the Assad regime and its allies “constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law.”
“These indiscriminate attacks deliberately target inhabited areas and civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities. They constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law,” read a statement by the French Foreign Ministry. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)
Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition, Nazir al-Hakim, met with the General Coordinator of the Syrian Digital School Abdullah Zanjir and Executive Director Mahmoud Sukkar. Both sides thoroughly discussed the educational process for Syrian students and the ways to provide education for the largest number of Syrian students who were not able to complete their education.
"Syria is going through a total humanitarian catastrophe because of the Assad regime’s pursuit of a military solution and the destruction of cities and infrastructure, including schools," Hakim said. “This have had a significant impact on the educational process for students of all ages."
Hakim pointed out that the institutions of the revolution and the opposition are struggling to provide education to Syrian students despite the tragic conditions which made the retention of stability an almost impossible task.
Hakim explained that the Coalition directed the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) to place education on top of its priorities while providing services to the civilian population in the liberated areas.
The school's Executive Director Sukkar gave a detailed explanation of the school's work, adding that the school took the students' circumstances into consideration through the provision of an "unconventional" educational process for students who suffer lack of stability. He noted that they are providing catch-up classes for students who missed classes in the past few years.
Hakim thanked the school staff for the efforts they are making to support the education process. He stressed that the Coalition supports these projects as both sides agreed to discuss cooperation with the SIG’s Ministry of Education in this regard. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)