Idlib province has been subjected to relentless bombardment since Tuesday by the Assad regime and Russia, with violent airstrikes pummeling more than 35 towns and villages. The bombardment killed at least 27 people and injured dozens more, mostly women and children.
Local news outlet said that the Assad regime's and Russia warplanes are mainly targeting populated areas, noting that more than 400 airstrikes targeted the province.
Assad regime's helicopters bombed Mayasar Al-Hamdo hospital in the town of Al-Ghadfa in southern rural Idlib, putting it out of service.
The Assad regime's helicopters also dropped barrel bombs on three mosques in rural Idlib, namely Al-Rahman Mosque in the town of Al-Ghaddafah, the Small Mosque in the village of Ma'arshamrin, and a mosque in the village of Al-Halaba. The bombings destroyed the three mosques.
The intensifying bombing campaign by the Assad regime and its backers on Idlib province triggered a fresh wave of mass displacement of civilians, with local activists reporting that the Assad regime and Russian jets hit vehicles carrying the fleeing civilians, causing many casualties. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The US Senate passed the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act after a similar move by the House of Representatives to impose unprecedentedly sweeping legal and economic sanctions on the Assad regime.
The Syrian National Coalition said that the adoption of the bill provides an opportunity to put an end to the international community’s inaction towards the situation in Syria and to work to build up the momentum needed to implement international resolutions, most importantly UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Coalition said that despite the long delay in the procedures related to the adoption of the bill, the move means a lot at this time. It stressed that the “bill came against the backdrop of Russia’s continued obstruction of the UN Security Council’s through its repeated use of its veto power to shield the Assad regime thus giving it the green light to do whatever it wanted.”
The Coalition underscored that “the main cause of what has happened to date and the deterioration of the situation in Syria is the Assad regime, its allies and supporters, and whoever continues to supply it with money, weapons, and militias as well as whoever provides a political cover for these crimes.”
The Coalition expressed its hope that “the act will be applied with the utmost seriousness by targeting the parties involved and responsible for the killings, mass displacement, and torture against the Syrian people.” (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Syrian National Coalition - Syria
Department of Media and Communications
December 18, 2019
Over the past few hours, the Assad regime further escalated the brutal, terrorist campaign it is waging against the Syrian people with direct support from the Russian occupation forces and Iranian militias.
The Civil Defense Corps, also known as the White Helmets, said that violent airstrikes, barrel bombing, heavy artillery and rocket shelling hit no fewer than 23 towns and villages in rural Idlib. The bombardment killed 10 civilians, including women and children, and wounded many others in the town of Tal Minnes.
At least seven civilians, including women and children, were killed in violent bombardment on the town of Bdama, while six other civilians were killed and many others injured, among them women and children, in airstrikes that hit the town of Maasaran.
The Syrian people are enduring a ferocious onslaught in which crimes and massacres are being committed by various means, including aerial bombardment, artillery shelling, and barrel bombing that is targeting hospitals, popular markets, schools, and mosques without the world lifting a finger and without any international pressure on the criminals.
There is a humanitarian disaster that is unfolding and continues to worsen with each passing day. More disasters will take place unless this criminal onslaught is stopped immediately, especially as the alliance of criminals insist on their criminal, terrorist choices. The international community, therefore, is directly responsible as the only party capable of stopping this aggression and confronting the strategy of the Assad regime and its backers.
The world is required to bear the consequences of the international system’s failure to enforce its resolutions and its inability to safeguard peace and security. All parties must shoulder their responsibilities with regards to the ongoing disaster through an immediate intervention that brings these crimes and massacres to an end and paves the way for the implementation of international resolutions.
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Member of the Syrian National Coalition’s political committee, Yasser Al-Farhan, said that the Syrian Negotiations Commission continues to work on discussing the basket of governance in order to develop ideas and solutions to create a “safe and neutral environment” in line with international resolutions on Syria, most notably the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Speaking at a workshop held by the Syrian Negotiations Commission several days ago, Al-Farhan stressed the importance of implementing international resolutions with regards to the provision of a safe and neutral environment. The Commission put forward a set of recommendations that will be part of negotiations in the next round of talks aimed at implementing UN resolution 2254.
Al-Farhan stressed the importance of the creation of a safe and neutral environment in accordance with the conditions and standards spelled out in the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. These include radical changes in the army, police, and security apparatuses, Al-Farhan said, adding that providing an appropriate environment is crucial for democratic change in Syria and allowing the Syrians to exercise their freedom in choosing their future through democratic means.
Al-Farhan stressed the need for commitment to the Geneva Communqie of 2012 as the basis of the political process and the transitional stage as well as to its provisions calling for the establishment of a “Transitional Governing Body (TGB) that can create a neutral environment in which the transitional process moves forward.”
Al-Farhan added that the first article of UN Resolution 2254 also calls for "ensuring the full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of 2012, adding that the 4th article calls for the holding of “free and fair elections under the supervision by the United Nations.” Articles 12 and 13 called for "the release of detainees and a ceasefire,” while Article 14 stresses the need to “create conditions for the voluntary and safe return of refugees to their places of origin.”
Furthermore, Al-Farhan indicated that creating a safe environment is of paramount importance for putting the constitution to a referendum at the end of the work of the Constitutional Committee. He added: “The procedures for obtaining public approval require the creation of a free environment for putting the outcomes of the Constitutional Committee into effect.” He pointed out that based on Article 4 of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, the Council supports “a Syrian-led political process that is facilitated by the United Nations and… establishes credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance and sets a schedule and process for drafting a new constitution, and further expresses its support for free and fair elections.” (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Syrian National Coalition - Syria
Department of Media and Communications
December 18, 2019
The US Senate’s adoption of the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act came amidst a catastrophic, terrible scene in which the Syrian people have been subjected for several years to one of the most horrific killings, torture, and mass displacement in modern history.
The bill came against the backdrop of Russia’s continued obstruction of the UN Security Council’s through its repeated use of its veto power to shield the Assad regime thus giving it the green light to do whatever it wanted. This obstruction has opened the way for these horrendous crimes to take place, some of which were documented and exposed by Caesar.
Despite the long delay in the procedures related to the adoption of the bill, the move means a lot at this time, pending the signature of the US president to put the bill into effect.
It is imperative to emphasize that the main cause of what has happened to date and the deterioration of the situation in Syria is the Assad regime, its allies and supporters, and whoever continues to supply it with money, weapons, and militias as well as whoever provides a political cover for these crimes.
Although this bill could have come into force several years ago, there is a great hope that it will be used to reenergize and advance the political process in Syria.
The Syrian National Coalition expresses its hope that the act will be applied with the utmost seriousness by targeting the parties involved and responsible for the killings, mass displacement, and torture against the Syrian people. The Coalition also hope that the act will avoid causing any harm to Syrian civilians or cause them any long-term repercussions, especially as the Assad regime will seek to make the Syrian people bear the results of the bill and will use it to put a further burden on Syrian civilians.
The Syrian Coalition commends the efforts being made by several Syrian-American organizations to support the bill and ensure that it was put to vote in the US Senate. It also commends the efforts of the unknown soldiers who contributed to the preservation, transfer, and documentation of photos, chief among them was the military photographer code-named Caesar.
The bill will contribute to the drying up of the sources of funding for the war that the Assad regime is waging on the Syrian people. It will also place the countries and entities that abetted the murderous regime in front of the results of their actions. Moreover, it will also significantly contribute to imposing a real negotiating agenda on the regime and place it under greater pressure with regards to the issue of detainees, in addition to sending a strong message that a culture impunity in Syria will no longer be tolerated.
The Syrian Coalition reaffirms the need for the major actors in the international community to grasp the opportunity this law offers in order to put an end to the international community’s inaction towards the situation in Syria and to work to build up the momentum needed to implement international resolutions, most importantly UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
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