Renewed violations by the Assad regime and its allies in rural Idlib and rural Hama have so far killed more than 100 civilians, including many women and children as well forced thousands to flee towards camps near the Turkish border.
The Emergency Response Coordinators Team in northern Syria said that the ongoing bombing campaign and the daily targeting of towns and villages in rural Idlib and Hama have killed more than 101 civilians and injured more than 350 others since early February.
In figures the Team compiled regarding the humanitarian and field conditions in the demilitarized area, the Team on Friday said that the military actions by the Assad forces and their allies have forced around 14,226 families out of their homes. It noted that more families are fleeing as the shelling on the area continued unabated.
The Team said that the shelling targeted more than 92 towns and villages, including towns and villages in rural Hama, 35 others in rural Idlib, and 15 in Aleppo. The Assad regime’s air force bombed more than 10 towns and villages in rural Idlib.
Activists in rural Idlib on Friday said that five people were wounded in violent shelling by the Assad regime forces and their allied militias on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Al-Deir Al-Sharqi, Maarashimarin, and Talminas, and Sukeik in southern rural Idlib and the villages of Badama, Maarand and Najia.
Activists in rural Hama said that the Assad forces intensified their shelling on the towns and villages in the area. They said that regime forces carried out heavy artillery and rocket shelling on the towns of Kafr Zeita, the Tal al-Sakhr, Hasaraya, Qalqat al-Madiq, Tuwayneh, Huwiz, Beit al-Ras. The shelling caused many casualties among civilians.
The Syrian Coalition earlier stressed the need to put an end to the violations and crimes and daily shelling by the Assad regime forces on civilians in rural Idlib and Hama. It said that the Assad regime is deliberately targeting civilians and launching deadly attacks against them.
The Coalition called for holding to account those responsible for breaches of the demilitarized zone agreement as well as for implementing the agreed upon monitoring and follow-up mechanisms. It also called for preventing the regime from using the agreement as a means of concealment and impunity. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-President of the Syrian Coalition, Dima Moussa, saluted all Syrian women on the occasion of the International Women's Day. She emphasized the pivotal role of the Syrian women in the Syrian revolution and their effective participation in the political work at its various levels.
Moussa also stressed the important role of Syrian women, especially in the political process and in negotiations as key to making Syria a place of safety and creating sustainable peace.
“As the world observes the International Women's Day, Syrian women continue their struggle and courageously endure the suffering resulting from the Assad regime’s harassment, detention, torture and forced displacement of them and their families,” Moussa said.
She added that thousands of Syrian women and girls are currently held in the Assad regimes’ secret dungeons and are subjected to all types of violations in response to their civic activity as well as their calls for freedom and dignity. She noted that women in other parts of Syria are subjected to other types of violations, including forced military conscription, child marriage, and the imposition of dress code and a certain lifestyle.
Moussa called on all women around the world to remember the suffering of the Syrian people; show solidarity with them; and to call on the international community to take the necessary steps to put an end to the tragedy that has been affecting Syrian civilians for nearly eight years.
Ending this tragedy requires the implementation of international conventions and UN resolutions on Syria, including the taking of concrete steps to stop the hostilities; ensure the release of detainees; and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need everywhere in Syria, Moussa said. She pointed out that these are the first steps towards bringing about a political transition to Syria that is based on justice, the rule of law, and equal citizenship for all Syrian citizens.
Moussa concluded her remarks by reaffirming commitment to carrying on with the efforts to reach a political solution that guarantees freedom, dignity and justice for the Syrian people in general and Syrian women in particular. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition, Badr Jamous, said that the Assad and Iranian regimes are responsible for the formation of many sectarian militias in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, including Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba which the US targeted by sanctions on Tuesday.
Jamous said that the formation of these militias is aimed at provoking sectarian strife which in turn led to the emergence of terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, noting that these militias created chaos in the societies of these countries with the help of the Assad and Iranian regimes.
The US latest move, and before it the classification of the political wing of the Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist entity, is a positive step,” Jamous said, describing it as “coming late and needing more serious actions.”
“Regardless of these classifications, the main sponsors of these militias are still committing crimes against civilians and are still recognized by the United Nations and the Security Council., It will be better to include the Assad and Iranian regimes on the terrorist list.”
Moreover, Jamous called for the withdrawal of international recognition and the ratcheting of pressure on these two regimes as well as for holding to account those responsible for the widespread war crimes taking place in Syria and the rest of the region.
“Further serious steps will contribute to the revitalization of the political process based on the implementation of the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254 calling for a comprehensive political transition in the country. Such steps will ensure the restoration of security and stability to the region.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The European Union on Monday announced it was adding seven ministers of the government of Syria to the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures against the Assad regime and its supporters.
The Syrian Coalition stressed the importance of activating the work of the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) established in 2016 to support efforts to hold accountable perpetrators of war crimes in Syria.
The decision brought to 277 the number of persons targeted by a travel ban and an asset freeze for being responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria, benefiting from or supporting the regime, and/or being associated with such persons.
The EU added that it would continue to “consider further restrictive measures against Syria as long as the repression continues.”
The EU sanctions currently in place against Syria also include: an oil embargo, restrictions on trade and investment, a freeze of the assets of the Syrian central bank within the EU, export restrictions on arms, weapons, equipment that might be used for internal repression as well as on equipment and technology for the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications.
The EU concluded its statement by stressing that it “remains committed to finding a lasting and credible political solution to the conflict in Syria as defined in the UN Security Council resolution 2254 and in the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.”
The Syrian Coalition welcomed the EU decision as it stressed the need support efforts to ensure accountability through the establishment of a special tribunal to look into war crimes and crimes against humanity taking place in Syria, especially in light of Russia’s obstruction of efforts on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
The EU has begun to impose sanctions on the Assad regime officials since early December 2011, including on Bashar al-Assad and members of his family as well as companies and entities dealing with the regime. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)
The Syrian Coalition welcomed the findings of the latest report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which confirmed the use of a "toxic chemical" in the bombing of the town of Douma in rural Damascus at the height of the military operation the Assad regime launched against civilians in eastern Ghouta in the spring of 2018.
In a press release issued on Sunday, the Coalition called upon the UN Security Council and the major players in Syria to take the necessary steps to ensure accountability for the use of chemical weapons in the conflict. The Coalition reminded those countries of their commitment to respond if the use of chemical weapons is proven in Syria again.
“OPCW is still required, based on its new mandate which has been expanded recently, to name the party responsible for the chemical weapons attacks in Syria beyond confirming or denying the use of chemical weapons.” the Coalition said.
The Coalition reiterated the importance of supporting OPCW work to “ensure the launch of investigations into all incidents involving the use of chemical weapons.” It also underscored the importance of coordination with Syrian human rights organizations which have been tracking and following up on many cases that have not yet been investigated by the international organization.
“Investigations needs to be continued in order to clearly identify the perpetrators; do justice to the victims; punish those responsible for this crime and all similar crimes; and to prevent further crimes against the Syrian people, whether these involve the use of chemical or conventional weapons.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition stressed the need to take up a tough international stance towards the daily violations, crimes and intensive shelling by the Assad regime against civilians in the countryside of Idlib and Hama. It said that the Assad regime is deliberately targeting civilians and launching deadly attacks against them.
In a press release issued on Friday, the Coalition said that such a new position by the international community “should pave the way for a comprehensive, genuine political solution in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communique of 2012, particularly with regard to the political transition and the Transitional Governing Body (TGB) with full powers.”
The Coalition cited the numbers of civilian casualties in February resulting from the intensified bombing campaign by the Assad regime and its allies. It added that various credible reports have already confirmed that civilians are the victims of the regime’s bombings and that houses are deliberately targeted. This fact is further proved by the ration of casualties among children and women resulting from the ongoing bombing campaign on Idlib province.
“Throughout the years of the revolution, the vast majority of civilian casualties were a result of war crimes, massacres and projects at genocide and forced displacement. Very few were killed in armed confrontations of a military nature,” the Coalition said.
The Coalition continued: “Since the first day of the Syrian revolution, civilians have been the primary target of the Assad regime and its allies seeking to prevent them from achieving their goals; to preserve the regime of tyranny, oppression and criminality.”
The Coalition pointed out that the Assad regime rejected all proposals and did not respect any international agreement or resolution on the situation in Syria whatsoever, including the resolutions and agreements relating to the ceasefire and those relating to the political solution.
The Coalition called upon countries, organizations, institutions and activists from all over the world, especially those who supported the Syrian revolution at any time and in any way and those who endorsed the Syrian peoples’ aspirations and hopes to provide genuine support for the Syrian people at all levels.
The Coalition also called for commitment to supporting the Syrian people’s legitimate rights to freedom, justice, dignity and living in a democratic, pluralistic, civil state. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Dima Moussa welcomed the efforts being made by the UN envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, to push the political process forward. She said that the remarks Mr. Pedersen made during his first briefing to the UN Security Council were “positive and congruent with the Coalition’s vision for a solution in Syria.”
Moussa stressed the importance of restarting the political process “as soon as possible” in view of the Assad regime’s desperate attempts to obstruct this process. She pointed out that the Assad regime still refuses to engage seriously and hinders all UN efforts, citing the regime’s obstruction of the formation of the Constitutional Committee as well as its continued attacks on civilians and the torture of detainees.
The UN envoy presented his first briefing to the UN Security Council late on Thursday. He stressed the importance of a comprehensive political process and the exertion of efforts on all its components as was stipulated in UN Security Council resolution 2254 through a comprehensive roadmap and the launch of the work of a balanced, credible, and inclusive Constitutional Committee as soon as possible.
Moussa also underscored the importance of bringing about a comprehensive political transition in the country as was stipulated in the relevant international resolutions, most notably the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. She noted that the Syrian Coalition’s efforts are currently focused on “reaching a sustainable political solution under the auspices of the United Nations.”
“We reaffirm that our political work is aimed at reaching a political solution that meets the legitimate demands of the Syrian people to build a democratic, pluralistic Syria that guarantees freedom and a decent life for all its citizens and one that is based on the rule of law and equal citizenship,” Moussa said.
Moussa went on: “We will continue to deal positively with all the efforts aimed at reaching that solution, particularly with the UN envoy to Syria.” She stressed the importance of adequate representation of women in the political process.
Moreover, Moussa pointed out that a solution in Syria can only be reached through a political process leading to a genuine transition. She said that such transition should include the establishment of a Transitional Governing Body (TGB) and the launch of a constitutional process aimed at drafting a new constitution by the Syrian people and the holding of UN-supervised elections in a safe, neutral environment ensuring a dignified, voluntary return of the refugees and displaced persons.
Moussa said that achieving these goals requires resolving the humanitarian issues, including most importantly the issue of detainees which Mr. Pedersen addressed in his briefing. She cited the UN envoy’s highlighting of the importance of respecting the international conventions; the protection of civilians; and the cessation of hostilities. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)