The Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition, Nazir al-Hakim, stressed the need for the United Nations to safeguard civilians’ property rights in Syria. He said that Assad regime’s infringement on civilians’ property constitutes blatant violation of one of the basic civilian rights and does not serve the political process based on international resolutions, especially the Geneva Communique and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Al-Hakim made these remarks following a meeting held at the headquarters of the Syrian Coalition on Thursday. The meeting brought together the Secretary-General, the Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs Abdul Ahad Steifo, the head of the National Commission on the Detainees and Missing Persons Yaser Al-Farhan, the head of the Department of Organizations Abdel-Majid Barakat, and the Director of the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) Mohammed Hassanu.
The meeting highlighted the importance of launching a national project that contributes to the safeguarding of the civilians’ property rights in light of the extensive destruction caused by the Assad regime’s bombing of the centers of cities and residential areas as well as its issuance of laws and decrees that violate property rights, including Law 10.
Al-Hakim said that such project would contribute to preventing the Assad regime from consolidating the demographic change it is seeking to achieve in Syria through the manipulation of real estate documents. He cited the Assad regime’s manipulation of civil registry records with the aim of concealing the war crimes it is committing against Syrian civilians.
Moreover, Al-Hakim pointed out that the Assad regime cannot conceal its strategy aimed at expropriating refugees and the forcibly displaced persons and grant their property to loyalists. He also cited the reports about the illegal transfer of property in the regime-held areas.
Al-Hakim added that such move would discourage the rightful property owners from returning to their areas of origin, stressing that this constitutes war crimes under international law. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned that Syrian children are dying at an alarming rate in the refugee camp of Rukban near the Jordanian border, with at least one death reported every five days since the beginning of the year.
In a statement on Wednesday, the agency said that of the 12 children who have died already this year, five were newborn babies. One month ago, UNICEF warned that freezing temperatures and lack of healthcare were putting the lives of children in Rukban at extreme risk.
“Despite the best efforts of the humanitarian community to provide emergency support, the desperate conditions in Rukban are simply no place for a child to be born or to grow up," said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
On January 15, UNICEF reported that 15 children, mostly infants, had died in IDP camps across Syria as a result of the severe cold.
At least 175 children in Rukban refugee camp suffered malnutrition last month. Many children have already died as a result of lack of medicines and medical care, while dozens more suffered breathing difficulties as a result of a sandstorm that hit the region.
“UNICEF calls on all parties to consider children first and urgently find durable solutions to end the years of suffering that they have had to bear,” Cappelaere said. UNICEF also called for immediately facilitating sustained, unimpeded and unconditional humanitarian access to children in need.
Russia and the Assad regime have further tightened the blockade on al-Rukban IDPs camp near the Jordanian border since early October 2018. The Syrian Coalition said that the sieged is aimed at “breaking the will of those trapped inside; displace them once again; and make them face an unknown fate.”
The Coalition also said that “a genocide is taking place in front of the eyes of the world which remains silent.” It called on the international community in general, and humanitarian organizations in particular, to exert more efforts to put an end to the suffering of the IDP in the camp and to take serious action to save the lives of children trapped in the camp.
The Assad regime has tightened the blockade on the camp since early October, preventing the delivery of food and medical supplies despite repeated appeals for the delivery of aid to more than 50,000 people trapped inside. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Volunteers of the Syrian civil defense held sit-in protests in many of their centers across Idlib province to protest against the Assad regime forces and their allied militias’ intensified bombing campaign and to show solidarity with the people in rural Idlib and rural Hama.
The civil defense volunteers were joined by civilians and activists who gathered in Idlib city as well as the towns of Kafranbel, Ariha, Jisr al-Shughour and Harem to condemn the intensifying aerial, artillery and rocket bombardment of Idlib province. They also demanded the release of detainees from the prisons of the Assad regime.
The protestors in Kafranbel in rural Idlib called on the international community to assume its responsibilities with regards to the ongoing military escalation by the Assad regime's forces and their allies in the region.
The civil defense volunteers raised signs that read “crimes against humanity are taking place in Assad regime’s prisons,” “our determination is high,” “your lives are so precious,” “Assad’s prisons are human slaughterhouses,” “we call on the international community to take action to ensure the release of hundreds of thousands of detainees in Assad’s prisons.”
The Civil Defense Corps, also known as the White Helmets, called for ratcheting up pressure on the Assad regime and the Russian guarantor to stop the barbaric bombing campaign against civilians in the provinces of Idlib, Hama and Aleppo.
The ongoing bombing campaign has so far claimed the lives of no fewer than 85 civilians, including 36 children and injured hundreds more, mostly women and children, half of whom are in Khan Sheikhoun.
The shelling also forced thousands to flee to relatively safer areas, while schools have been suspended in the targeted areas. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)