The Assad and Russian forces have escalated their airstrikes in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria, especially in Idlib and its countryside. The airstrikes have killed and injured dozens of civilians as well as knocked out six vital civilian centers since Thursday morning.
The Syrian Civil Defense said that four airstrikes hit the town of Ma'aret al-Nu'man in rural Idlib on Friday, killing two children and injuring seven civilians, including three children.
An Assad regime jet dropped four bombs on Al-Qusour neighborhood in the city of Idlib on Friday morning, causing civilian casualties. The civil defense teams said that they were working to extinguish the fires caused by the airstrike.
The Assad regime and Russian jets on Thursday carried out deadly airstrikes against the town of Jisr al-Shughour in rural Idlib, killing six civilians, including a child and injuring nine other.
The Civil Defense said that at least 14 airstrikes hit its centers in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. The local news outlet Inab Baladi said that the airstrikes knocked out six healthcare facilities and services centers in Idlib province on Thursday.
The newspaper quoted its correspondent in the province as saying that the centers included healthcare facilities, a civil defense center and a school. The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) on Thursday said that an airstrike hit the hospital in Maaret al-Nu'man while more than 250 people were inside, including patients, medical staff, and 48 infants and newborn babies in the hospital.
The Syrian Coalition called upon the United Nations to condemn the Assad regime attacks against civilians in Idlib, calling for serious action to stop the bombing and ensure the protection of civilians.
The Coalition described the targeting of civilians as a "criminal act" as it stressed the need to activate the principle of accountability and transitional justice as well as to tighten the economic and legal sanctions on the Assad regime. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition hailed the steadfastness of the Free Syrian Army fighters in the face of the military operations being launched by the Assad regime and Russia since April 26. It stressed that the stiff resistance being put up by the FSA has a major role in the political solution and the course of the revolution as well as in meeting the Syrian people's demands for freedom and dignity.
In a press release issued on Friday, the Coalition said that the Free Syrian Army fighters made new achievement on the ground by preventing the Assad regime's forces and their allied terrorist militias from achieving any progress in northern rural Hama.
“The FSA fighters have proved their ability to impose a firm deterring equation in the face of the strategy of the bloody solution being pursued by the Assad regime and its allies and the other parties seeking to break the will of the Syrian people,” the Coalition said.
“The FSA groups have reinforced their positions in the strategic Hammamyat hilltop in northwestern rural Hama. Over the past few hours, they have fended off multiple counterattacks by the Assad regime and the Iranian militias to recapture the hill using various types of weaponry. They have also inflicted heavy losses on the attacking forces.”
The Coalition stressed the important role of the FSA which is not limited to protecting civilians and preventing the regime and its allies from achieving their plans.
“The FSA role goes beyond that to have a real impact on the course of the revolution, especially with regards to reasserting the need for a political solution as the only way forward.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head-designate of the Syrian Interim Government, Abdurrahman Mustafa, held extensive consultations with civil and local bodies and groups to outline the SIG’s vision and plans of action for the next phase. The consolations also discussed the major challenges and difficulties as well as the chances for the selection of an efficient cabinet.
Mustafa stressed the importance of activating SIG’s work and the effective management of the liberated areas in order to bring about security and stability. He also stressed the importance of the provision of essential services to the civilian population through the rebuilding of the civil bodies and institutions that were destroyed by the Assad regime and its allies over the past years.
Moreover, Mustafa stressed the need for coordination between the service tracks represented by SIG’s work and the political track represented by the political process. He noted that the success in these two tracks will reflect positively on the meeting of the demands of the Syrian people for freedom and dignity.
SIG will make use of the competencies in the liberated areas and rely on them to build a government that meets the most pressing needs in the next phase. He stressed that the main slogan of the work is "the absence of political quotas."
Mustafa went on to say that the construction process will be based on the positive points in the previous government. “We will not start from scratch … There are positive points in the previous government that we will proceed from and build on.”
Mustafa commended the Turkish government’s help for the Syrian Interim Government to enable it to manage liberated areas, stressing the importance of constant coordination with the Turkish government to meet all needs and necessities. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition’s representative in France, Munther Makhous, condemned the Assad regime’s continued blockade on Rukban camp near the Jordanian border, saying that these policies constituted war crimes.
Makhous said that the UN relief convoys have not entered the camp for about three months. He added that the humanitarian situation is further worsening due to the lack of food, health and medical equipment as well as the shortages of water in the desert camp.
The Assad regime and its allies are exerting pressure on the residents of the camp through the tight blockade and the blocking of the commercial convoys, Makhous said. He noted that the regime is seeking to force the residents of the camp to leave to areas of its choice, pointing out that the UN is seeking to end the blockade and reach those in need.
Makhos said he was in constant contact with the United Nations and the camp managemnt to coordinate humanitarian convoys and meet the needs of the camp residents.
Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on Wednesday said that “the UN is currently awaiting approval from the Government of Syria on an operational plan submitted last week to assess needs inside Rukban, to assist with transport for people who wish to leave, and to provide humanitarian relief for those who decide to remain.”
“Our humanitarian colleagues are concerned about conditions in Rukban in southeastern Syria along the border with Jordan, where an estimated 25,000 displaced people continue to live in dire conditions,” Haq added.
Haq said the refugees have limited or no access to health care, basic food and other humanitarian assistance.
In April, the United Nations announced it stood ready to assist in relief operations for the residents of the camp which is under tight blockade by the Assad regime and Russian forces. Dozens have already died as a result of malnutrition and lack of medical care.
Residents of the camp earlier appealed to the US and the European Union for protection and for not leaving them easy prey to the Assad regime and its Russian ally. They stressed that the Assad regime must not be allowed to use food and medicine as a weapon against the camp residents to force them to leave to the areas under its control. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Representatives of the Syrian Coalition met with Gökçe OK, Deputy Director General of the Turkish Migration Management in Ankara at an invitation by the Syrian Islamic Council to discuss the situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey, especially in Istanbul.
The meeting was attended by the Head of the Syrian Coalition’s Department of Syrian Communities Abroad Mohammad Yahya Maktabi and member of the General Assembly Yousef Mahli as well as representatives of Syrian civil organizations.
Maktabi said that it was agreed to hold periodic meetings to address the problems facing the Syrian refugees in Istanbul and to co-organize activities and events to educate the Syrian refugees on the Turkish culture and traditions so as to help ease the tension.
The two sides also stressed the friendship between the Syrian and Turkish peoples and the historical ties between the two countries. They also stressed the importance of refuting rumors and preventing their spread in view of their negative impact on the relationship of the two peoples.
Maktabi thanked the Turkish people for the generous hosting of the Syrian refugees and the Turkish government for supporting the Syrian people's demands for freedom, dignity and salvation from the authoritarian regime that has been ruling Syria for nearly fifty years.
Maktabi said that the Assad regime sent loyalists to carry out shameful, shocking acts with the aim of tarnishing the image of the Syrian refugees and destabilizing Turkey. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Yasser Farhan, member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee, stressed the importance of documenting the war crimes being committed by the Assad regime and its allies in Syria as well as the PYD militia against civilians.
Farhan praised the writer Ibrahim al-Habash’s issuance of his book “The Crimes of the PYD Militia” which highlighted the militia’s deliberate murder of civilians, the assassinations, enforced disappearance, and child recruitment.
Farhan reaffirmed commitment to redress the victims and hold the criminals to account, reiterating that the Coalition considers the PYD militia a terrorist organization that is responsible for widespread violations and crimes against civilians.
Moreover, Farhan stressed the existence of close cooperation between the PYD militia and the Assad regime. He pointed out that the Assad regime supplied the PYD with money and weapons. It also handed over large areas and government institutions to the PYD militia to suppress the revolution and silence demands for freedom and democracy on the regime’s behalf.
Farhan called on the international community to end its support for the PYD militia, noting that this militia uses that support in committing crimes and suppressing freedoms.
Local media quoted Ibrahim al-Habash as saying: "The book relied on victims’ testimony, some of whom attended the signing ceremony.” He noted that other parts of the book will be published in the future to include the remaining violations that were not covered by the book. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition called on the United Nations to condemn the Assad regime's military attacks on civilians in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria, calling for serious action to stop the bombardment and protect civilians.
Seventeen civilians were killed and many others were injured in the intensifying bombardment by the Assad regime and Russia in northwestern Syria on Sunday. Internationally prohibited weapons, such as cluster bombs, were used in the shelling in addition to heavy artillery and rockets.
The Syrian Coalition said that these attacks were added to the long litany of crimes against unarmed civilians.
Local activists pointed out that the Assad regime and Russia expanded the bombing campaign to include new areas. The bombardment coincided with violent ground attacks in rural Idlib and Hama.
The Civil Defense Corps said that six civilians, including four women, were killed in artillery and rocket shelling by the Assad regime forces on a farmland near the town of Qastoun in northern rural Hama. An airstrike killed a man and his son as well as injured six others in the town of Maarshourin in rural Idlib. Another child was killed in heavy artillery shelling on the village of Jadraya, while two other children were killed in similar attacks on the towns of Babilah and Ziyadiyah.
The Emergency Response Coordinators Team said that the continued bombing campaign has so far forced more than 93,274 households or 606,272 civilians from their homes, noting that the majority of the displaced people sought refuge in the Shield of the Euphrates and the Olive Branch areas as well as in relatively safer areas in northwestern Syria.
The Team said that the bombardment was aimed at changing the demographic landscape in the region as other human rights organizations warned of a repeat of the scenario of Aleppo, Daraya, eastern Ghouta, and northern rural Homs in northwestern Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The President of the Syrian Coalition, Anas al-Abda, met with representatives of civic groups and services institutions operating in the province of Idlib on Saturday as part of a tour to discuss the latest developments in northwestern Syria which has been subjected to fierce onslaught by the Assad regime and Russia since last April.
The meeting discussed the possible political, services and humanitarian ways to support the resilience of civilians in the face of the barbaric bombing campaign against the liberated areas.
President Al-Abda gave an overview of the plan of action of the new presidential body and the political committee to develop the work of the Coalition and its institutions. He stressed the importance of correcting the past mistakes and the advancement of the institutions of the revolution to be able to provide services to civilians in the liberated areas.
President Al-Abda praised the efforts of civic groups operating in difficult conditions in the areas that are subjected to grave violations, stressing that these sacrifices “will not be forgotten or erased from the memory of the Syrian people.”
Moreover, Al-Abda said that the Coalition has made extensive consultations with the states supporting the Syrian revolution and the United Nations to put an end to the bombardment of residential areas as well as civilian and medical facilities.
The Coalition puts the wellbeing of civilians in Idlib on top of its priorities. Our number one priority is ensuring protection for civilians and providing services to millions of civilians in the liberated areas.” He underscored that the targeting of civilians is a war crime punishable by the International Law. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition stressed that the international community is urgently required to carry out its duties to protect civilians in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria who are being subjected to daily bombardment. It also called for putting an end to the Assad regime and Russia’s crimes and prevent them from pursuing a military option and refusing to engage in the escape political process.
In a press release issued on Sunday, the Coalition called upon the international community to seriously work on finding a comprehensive political solution in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
“Towns and villages in northwestern Syria continue to be subjected to a series of airstrikes as part of the Assad regime’s escalating bombing campaign backed by the Russian occupation air force against civilians in different areas of northern rural Hama and Idlib,” the Coalition added.
The brutal bombardment of the town of Muhambel in rural Idlib at dawn on Saturday resulted in a massacre claiming the lives of at least 12 civilians, mostly women and children, while dozens more were wounded.
The Coalition also said that the shelling also caused fires and widespread destruction to civilian homes and property, forcing many people to flee.
“There is no need for more speculation about this bloody reality that has been ongoing on for years. The Assad regime continues to commit war crimes and violate existing agreements let alone insisting on a military option and refusing to engage in the political process.”
The Coalition went on: “Nonetheless, the resistance of the rebel fighters, who have shown heroic steadfastness in both word and deed, is stiffening with every passing day. They have shown absolute determination to defend the freedom of the Syrian people and the options of their revolution despite the international inaction.”
“The international community must not allow this reality to continue, nor can it expect that the Assad regime or its allies will stop committing massacres and crimes. This means that the demands and responsibilities placed upon the international community are still in place and that it must shoulder its obligations to maintain international peace and security.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The President of the Syrian Coalition, Anas Al-Abda, visited the Sanad organization for people with disabilities accompanied by Vice-president Dima Moussa. They discussed with the organization's officials the most urgent needs and daily difficulties they are facing within the family, community, and workplace as well as the possible ways to enable people with disabilities to effectively participation at all levels.
President Al-Abda called upon the international organizations and donors to step up support for the people with disabilities; improve their situation; and help them return to normal life. He noted that the Syrian Coalition will work to ensure their participation in political life.
Moreover, Al-Abda pointed out that this participation will include inviting people with disabilities to meet with members of the Coalition’s political committee and the General Assembly. These meetings will allow them to learn about the latest political developments as well as share their views and ideas on the developments of the political process.
People with disabilities have a prominent role in the future of Syria, President Al-Abda said. He added: “By enabling them to have a say in the political life, we will have carried out part of our duty as representatives of the Syrian opposition and the revolution.”
Al-Abda said that the Assad regime is responsibile for the injuries of hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians who were left with permanent disabilities as a result of the military operations and indiscriminate bombardment of residential areas and public facilities with the aim of crushing the Syrian revolution and forcing the rebel fighters to surrender.
Furthermore, President Al-Abda called for activating the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to hold the perpetrators of war crimes in Syria to account as well as to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court. He also called for including the testimonies of those who have been permanently injured or disabled in the investigations.
Al-Abda praised the important role Sanad and the other humanitarian organizations are playing in catering for people with special needs. He pointed out that there are more than one million people with disabilities who do not receive sufficient attention or care. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)