Secretary of the Syrian Coalition’s Political Committee, Riad al-Hassan, said that Russia and the Assad regime are to blame for the atrocities taking place against civilians in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria, adding that these atrocities constituted war crimes under the international law and international humanitarian law.
Hassan pointed out that the Assad regime forces with the support of Russia violated all international resolutions related to the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need as well as the resolutions related to the political process, the cease-fire, the release of detainees, and most importantly the ‘de-escalation zone’ agreement. He noted that all that is left of the agreement is Idlib province and the adjacent parts of the provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Lattakia.
The Russian jets taking off from Hmeimim and regime jets are bombing exclusively civilian areas, such as public markets, civilian homes, hospitals and civil defense centers, Hassan said. He added that these attacks have killed hundreds of civilians, including children and women, as well as destroyed dozens of vital civilian centers and healthcare facilities.
Hassan pointed out that the regime's intentions to recapture Idlib have become known to everyone, warning of a repeat of the scenario of Aleppo, northern rural Homs, eastern Ghouta and Dara’a. He added: "Every time the regime uses terrorism as a pretext to bomb civilians. In Syria, there is certainly no terrorism that surpasses the terror of Assad and Russia as is being evidenced by the gruesome photos and videos coming from Idlib.
Hassan reaffirmed the Coalition’s support for the Free Syrian Army to defend Syrian civilians in view of the international community's failure to stop the Assad regime and Russian deadly attacks against civilians.
Moreover, Hassan praised the Turkish efforts to bring military operations in the region to an end as he called on the international community to support Ankara’s efforts. He said that these efforts would have "more positive results than working within the UN Security Council.
Spokesman for the Russian presidency has announced his country will carry on with the offensive in the de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria. He pointed out that these attacks will continue until they ensure an end to “attacks on civilian targets where the Russian military personnel are present, including the Humeimim army base.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)