President of the Syrian Coalition, Abdulrahman Mustafa, said that the ongoing killings and destruction in the ‘de-escalation zone’ area in northwestern Syria is the direct result of the international community’s inaction and lukewarm, ineffective positions.
In a speech on the situation in Idlib and rural Hama, President Mustafa said that the international community has a duty to take concrete decisions to stop the killings, destruction, and displacement once and for all. He underscored that even the international resolutions are not enough as they need to be adopted and enforced.
President Mustafa addressed the active UN member states: “You are the ones who need to assume the responsibility for enforcing the UN resolutions; ensuring respect for the International Law; and holding the perpetrators to account.
To persist with this reluctance and to act out of the calculation of the gains and losses is not the ideal way to stand up to the criminals.”
Moreover, President Mustafa called for establishing alternative mechanisms to bring this ongoing tragedy to an end.
“We ask you to overcome the obstacles in order to deter the regime and ratchet up the pressure on Russia to stop its aggression and its support for Assad.”
“The responsibilities are clear, and the perpetrators are already known,” President Mustafa added.
“They are the Assad regime, Iranian militias, and Russian aggressors who have aided and abetted the regime’s crimes against the Syrian people since day one.
Russia has sabotaged all international efforts and blocked the work of the UN Security Council.
It continues to violate all laws and conventions; shows utter disregard for the work of the UN commissions; and challenges the results of the UN investigations.”
President Mustafa went on: “Since the beginning of the direct Russian aggression on Syria, Russia has become a partner in these crimes. It has bombed towns and villages while seeking to disrupt the political solution and support a solution based on killing and displacement.”
“Russian bombs, the regime’s barrel bombs, the white phosphorus, the chemical weapons, the heavy artillery shelling of towns and villages as well as everything that is forbidden under the International Law is now being used against the Syrian civilians in the ‘de-escalation zones.”
President Mustafa added: “Since the beginning of the regime's war against the Syrian people, medical centers and hospital have been constant targets for the regime's killing and destruction machine, making them among the most dangerous places.”
He concluded his speech by expressing support the Free Syrian Army and the Turkish army’s efforts which have been able to deal heavy blows to terrorism. He said that Turkey is still working hard to stop the bloodshed; support the political solution; save the lives of civilians; and prevent their displacement from their homes.
“I appeal to all the honorable people of the Arab world and the whole world to stand by what is right, by the victims of the aggression, evil and injustice against our people, and support us by all possible means.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Assad regime and its allies have stepped up the bombing campaign in the de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria, carrying out a series of deadly attacks over the past 24 hours.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Coalition said: “Over the past few hours, the Assad regime forces, the Russian occupation jets, and the Iranian militia have carried out four deadly attacks in Idlib and Aleppo provinces, bombing more than 35 towns and villages in the two provinces.”
“The death toll from the bombardment continues to rise, with the initial count indicating that at least 26 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed and more than 70 others injured,” the Coalition added.
“The Civil Defense and medical teams are operating in the most difficult circumstances as they continue to be directly targeted by the Assad regime and Russian attacks. Since the beginning of the Assad regime’s war on the Syrian people, medical centers and hospitals have constant targets for the regime’s killing and destruction machine.”
The Coalition went on to say that “the international community and the United Nations have a mandate to find an appropriate mechanism to stop these deadly attacks after the traditional mechanisms failed to prevent the killings and stop the ongoing war crimes against the Syrian civilians.”
“These crimes have cast serious doubt about the very mission around which the United Nations was established, mainly to maintain international peace and security. These crimes have also shown how this institution, since it has been unable to intervene to resolve the most serious international conflicts, has become wholly irrelevant.”
“It is imperative that the international community immediately assume their responsibilities to enforce the UN Security Council resolutions; enforce an immediate ceasefire; and force the Assad regime to meet the requirements of a political solution. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa said that the war crimes being committed by the Assad regime and Russia in Syria “are not subject to any statutes of limitations, stressing that “they will eventually be held accountable.”
President Mustafa condemned the Assad regime and Russian forces’ destruction of medical centers and hospitals, stressing that the bombing campaign is mainly targeting hospitals, schools, public markets and other vital civilian centers, which constitutes war crimes.
Russia, the Assad regime, and the Iranian militia have destroyed more than 20 medical centers in northwestern Syria, President Mustafa said, pointing out that the latest of these attacks was the one that targeted Dar al-Hikma hospital in the town of Kafranbel in rural Idlib on Monday.
Local activists reported that multiple airstrikes targeted Dar al-Hikma hospital on Tuesday, knocking it out of service.
The Assad regime and Russian forces have significantly stepped up the bombing campaign against civilians in Idlib province over the past few days, using internationally prohibited weapons such as vacuum bombs, cluster munitions, and barrel bombs.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights earlier said that the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Lattakia countryside last week as part of its ongoing military operations aimed at recapturing Idlib province. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition said that the Assad regime and its allies are using "all that tactics and weapons that are prohibited under international law against civilians in Idlib and rural Hama. It called upon active members of the United Nations to take action and protect civilians.
In a press release issued on Sunday, the Coalition said: “The latest developments and events on the ground and the daily confrontations on different fronts bear one title: the ongoing criminality of the regime and its allies.”
The Coalition noted that the ongoing bombing campaign against Khan Sheikoun and southern rural Idlib and northern rural Hama is the most recent litany of crimes committed under this title. The town and its surroundings are being subjected to a campaign of scorching, destruction, and annihilation.”
“Russian missiles, the regime’s barrel bombs, the white phosphorous bombs and heavy artillery shelling of cities and towns as well as everything that is forbidden under international law is being committed and used against civilians in those areas.”
The Coalition went on: “The ongoing bombing campaign is a blatant violation of international resolutions and agreements on the region. These developments must be immediately referred to the UN Security Council as each party is obliged to assume their responsibilities.”
“It is imperative that the United Nations take practical steps to ultimately stop the killing, destruction and displacement. Resolutions and laws cannot be enforced on their own. The international organization and its active members need to assume their duty to protect civilians and enforce the UN Security Council resolutions,” the Coalition added. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The head of the Syrian Coalition’s Department of Media and Communications, Ahmad Ramadan, called on the United Nations to launch an official, urgent investigation into Lebanon’s deportation of Syrian refugees from Beirut airport to the Assad regime-held territories. He warned that the lives of the deportees would be at serious risk of torture and execution.
"Nearly 74 percent of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon do not have valid residence permits due to the intransigence of the Lebanese authorities which are dominated by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia,” Ramadan said in comments on Twitter on Friday.
Rights activists also denounced the eviction of Syrian refugees from their homes by the Beirut municipal police without prior notice. They described these recent evictions as "unfair."
Activists on Saturday started a petition on the global rights movement Avaaz to stop the deportation of Syrian refugees from Lebanon.
Organizers of the campaign cited remarks by Syrian rights activist Anwar al-Bunni who said that “the Lebanese authorities, and those racists behind them, are seeking to put increasing pressure on Syrian refugees to achieve their goals having failed with their attempts, along with the Russian criminal Putin, to provide international cover for the handing over of Syrian refugees to the murderer Bashar al-Assad.”
According to the petition, the Lebanese Ministry of Interior issued a decision to remove Syrian refugees’ camps and settlements without taking any action to shelter them elsewhere. More than 1,400 Syrian households are now at the risk of being left out in the open, the petition said, adding that the armed militias in Lebanon were given a free hand to harass Syrian refugees, especially activists, and hand them over to the Assad regime.
Lama Fakih, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, on Friday said: “Lebanese authorities shouldn’t deport anyone to Syria without first allowing them a fair opportunity to argue their case for protection and ensuring that they don’t face a real risk of persecution, torture, or other serious harm.”
HRW stressed that “Lebanon is also bound by the customary international law principle of nonrefoulement not to return refugees to places where they would be persecuted or to expose anyone to a real risk of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or threat to their life.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Assad regime and Russian forces have stepped up the bombardment of residential areas and healthcare facilities in Idlib and rural Hama using internationally prohibited weapons. The Syrian Civil Defense said that the attacks are hitting targets located far from the battlefronts in southern rural Idlib.
The Syrian Civil defense said that the Assad regime and Russia are using vacuum bombs, cluster munitions, and S-5 rockets, causing widespread destruction to civilian homes and property and the outbreak of large fires in agricultural crops.
Local activists said that at least five civilians were killed and dozens more were injured as a result of the bombings. They noted that Friday congregational prayers were cancelled in the majority of towns and villages in northern rural Hama and Idlib province for fear of the intense aerial activity by the Assad regime and Russian air forces.
Last Monday, the Emergency Response Coordinators Team said that the continued bombing campaign killed 492 civilians, including 144 children in the period between February 2 and May 20.
The regime is using high-explosive bombs in the bombardment as collective punishment for the heavy losses its forces have suffered over the past two days at the hands of the FSA groups. The Syrian Coalition said that “Syrian civilians are paying the price of the inaction of the international community.”
The Coalition stressed that “if they have the will, the active players in Syria can stop military attacks on civilian areas and enforce political solution in accordance with the international resolutions.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Assad regime and Russia have further stepped up bombardment on Idlib and rural Hama in response to the heavy losses they are suffering at the hands of the Free Syrian Army which made significant gains on the ground over the past two days.
Activists said that the Assad regime forces used cluster munitions and vacuum bombs in the bombardment on towns and villages in northern rural Hama and southern rural Idlib. The bombings killed 18 civilians on Wednesday, including two children, and injured dozens more.
The Syrian Civil Defense said that the shelling mainly targeted civilian homes, two schools and a convenience store in the town of Kifranbel.
At least nine people were killed in heavy shelling by the Assad forces and Russian forces on the town of Maaret al-Nouman. The Civil defense said that a total of 77 people were injured in the shelling on Wednesday.
The Syrian Coalition, meanwhile, said that the silence of the international community is to blame for the current situation.
“The Syrian people continue to pay a heavy price for the continued inaction of the international community, especially as this reprehensible crime is only one of the long litany of crimes against civilians and constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity,” the Coalition said.
It is our duty to remind the international community of its responsibilities to maintain peace and save the lives of civilians. We reaffirm that if they have the will, the active States can stop this barbaric attack and act towards enforcing a political solution in accordance with international resolutions. We reiterate calls for such a solution as we stress the need to enforce it without further delay. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Secretary of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee, Riyad al-Hassan, said that the Assad regime and its allies are to blame for the ongoing massacres and the tragic situation in the country, especially in northern Syria. He pointed out that the Assad regime and its allies’ ongoing military operations and targeting of medical and public facilities constituted blatant violation of international resolutions and the Astana agreements calling for a ceasefire.
Al-Hassan reaffirmed the Coalition’s support for the Free Syrian Army’s efforts to defend civilians in view of the international community's failure to put an end to the ongoing onslaught by the Assad regime and Russia on Idlib and rural Hama.
Al-Hassan expressed his disappointment at the failure of the UN Security Council to stop the regime’s bombing campaign in Idlib and rural Hama and even to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians. He pointed out that this failure was compounded by another catastrophic failure to revitalize the political process and return to the negotiations aimed at the implementation of international resolutions, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Al-Hassan added that the gains the Free Syrian Army achieved in the last two days and its recapture of most of the areas it earlier lost to regime forces have further exposed the weaknesses of the Assad regime forces and the Iranian terrorist militias which were further compounded by the international sanctions. He stressed that the FSA fighters would continue to advance until they recapture all the areas they lost in northern rural Hama.
The Free Syrian Army groups on Tuesday launched a major counterattack and managed to recapture the town of Kifranbouda, Tal Hawash hill, and al-Hamirat in northern rural Hama.
Local activists published photos and videos of big reinforcements sent by the Free Syrian Army to the frontlines in northern rural Hama. They also published videos of ATGM (Anti-tank Guided Missile) attacks against the Assad regime forces and Iranian terrorist groups.
FSA commanders said they had inflicted heavy losses on the Assad regime and its allies in Kifranbouda and the rest of the battlefronts, stressing they will continue to press on with the counterattack until they recapture all the areas they earlier lost. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr al-Hariri, warned that the loss of Idlib will sabotage the political process before it begins, noting that the Assad regime is seeking to wriggle out of its political obligations through military escalation.
“Every time we get closer to resuming the political process, the Assad regime resorts to military escalation," Hariri said in an interview with the Anadolu news agency. “Negative developments on the ground will negatively affect the political process.”
Hariri said that since the start of its direct military intervention in Syria in 2015, Russia has been trying to shore up the Assad regime and enable it to achieve military victory. However, all these attempts have so far failed on the ground.”
“In all the de-escalation zones, Russia and the Assad regime used terrorist organizations as a pretext, including more recently in Idlib where civilians and infrastructure are deliberately and systematically being targeted using aircraft, helicopters and heavy artillery.”
Hariri went on to say that the humanitarian catastrophe is unspeakable as hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced for the second time in dire conditions. He pointed out that what is going on in Idlib contravenes political solution and all calls for the return of the refugees.”
“It is estimated that 300,000 people have been detained across Syria," Hariri said. “Only the Assad regime which detains them knows the exact number of detainees. They are being held in the public and secret prisons and subjected to brutal psychological and physical torture.”
“Progress is yet to be achieved in the issue of detainees,” Hariri said, adding: “We do not accept the principle of ‘one for one’ as it is unfair. All detainees must be released.”
With regards to the Constitutional Committee, Hariri said that “all the parties agree on the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Resolution 2254 of 2015 as the basis for solution. It has already been agreed that the Constitutional Committee is not the entire political process but a gateway to the political solution. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Interim Government's Free Hama Governorate Council on Friday issued an appealed to international bodies, human rights organizations and guarantor states to assume their commitments and put an end to the Assad regime forces and their allies fierce onslaught on the provinces of Hama and Idlib.
In a statement it published on Facebook, the Council called on civilians to demonstrate on Saturday to demand the return to their homes and to denounce the Assad regime, Russian, and Iranian occupation of their areas.
The Council pointed out that the continued onslaught on rural Hama and Idlib aims to displace the people of the region as the Assad regime, with direct support from the Russian air force and Iranian militias, is targeting schools, hospitals, civil defense centers, and infrastructure.
The relentless combing campaign has so far killed hundreds of people and displaced more than 500,000 people from their homes, the Council said, calling on the rebel forces to close ranks and unite to defend the liberated areas.
The Syrian Coalition earlier warned of dire consequences should the Assad regime and its allies continue with attempts to recapture the liberated areas. It also warned of a major humanitarian disaster resulting from the targeting of civilians and a possible new, huge wave of refugees towards Europe.
Thousands of displaced people currently stay out in the open and unofficial camps in northern and western rural Idlib, as more families are being displaced from rural Hama and Idlib by the regime, Russia and sectarian militias continued fierce campaign against the two provinces. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)Syrian Coalition Emphasizes UN Security Council Role in Protecting Civilians and Stopping Onslaught on Idlib
Vice-President of the Syrian Coalition, Badr Jamous, called on the UN Security Council to take a clear, firm stance towards the Assad regime’s grave military campaign against Idlib and rural Hama. He stressed that the ongoing bombing campaign will have a negative impact on the political process and the humanitarian situation.
“The UN Security Council's failure to protect civilians means that the lives of more than four million people will be at huge risk,” Jamous said in a special statement on Friday. “The UN Security Council is required to ensure protection for civilians in Idlib and Hama and provide them with urgent humanitarian and medical aid.
Jamous warned of yet the biggest wave of refugees to outside Syria absent a serious action by the UN Security Council today to stop the ongoing military operations targeting civilians.
The UN Security Council is set to hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the situation in Idlib. The meeting is a follow-up to the closed session it held last week, during which several countries expressed concern about a possible humanitarian disaster in Idlib.
The meeting will discuss the dire humanitarian situation in the region, the possibility of a ceasefire, and revitalization of the political process.
Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric, on Thursday said that the United Nations is closely following the recent developments and military escalation in Idlib.
Dujarric said that that aerial attacks on population centers and civilian infrastructure resulted in hundreds of civilians dead and injured and over 180,000 newly displaced persons since late April. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)