President of the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), Anas Abdah, sent a letter to the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, to urge swift action for the detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime. He warned of the danger of an outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in light of the inhumane conditions in those prisons.
President Abdah pointed out that tens of thousands of detainees in the regime’s custody are going through unspeakable suffering, warning of the spread of the coronavirus in the regime’s detention facilities.
“If the pandemic finds its way into these overcrowded facilities – if it has not already – we will be facing a catastrophe that the regime might exploit to get rid of the detainees, but which also will have global repercussions,” President Abdah said.
He went on to say that the Assad regime “continues to cover up cases of the coronavirus in Syria, having until now admitted to only one case. However, based on the numbers in the region and given the fact that the regime opened Syria’s borders wide for militias … it is impossible to believe there is only one coronavirus case in Syria.”
President Abdah called on the ICRC to use all the means at its disposal to get immediate and full access to detention centers in order to ascertain the conditions of detainees.
He also called for pressing for saving the lives of tens of thousands of detainees and ensure their immediate release.
Moreover, President Abdah called for pressing the Assad regime, through the UN and governments, to have complete access to detention sites and elsewhere to be able to closely monitor the spread of the pandemic and provide the necessary medical care. (Source: SOC’s Media Department)
The Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) welcomed the latest calls made by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and the UN special envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, for a ceasefire in Syria, describing such calls as a step in the right direction.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the SOC said that these calls corresponded with its repeated calls for commitment and respect for international resolutions and agreements calling for an end the killing and bombardment as well as and giving an opportunity for a political solution.
The SOC said that the remarks of the UN envoy on the situation in Syria, however, did not refer to the party responsible for the dire situation in the country, the destruction of its infrastructure, the targeting of healthcare facilities, and the displacement of more than half of Syria’s population.
“The UN envoy did not mention the party responsible for the arrest and torture of hundreds of thousands of Syrians and exposing their lives to various threats, the latest of which is the coronavirus pandemic.”
The SOC underscored that the UN envoy’s remarks “referred to the crime but did not mention the perpetrator. We had hoped the UN envoy would have explicitly referred to the party responsible for this situation.”
“The regime's continued detention of more than 250,000 Syrians and exposing them to the risk of infection amounts to a genocide that is taking place in daylight and which must stop immediately through the unconditional release of the detainees.”
The SOC went on: “Addressing the current reality in Syria, ensuring the safety of the Syrian people, imposing strict measures to stem the pandemic spread, and ensuring the safety of the detainees and their release are necessary steps that require an effective plan that needs to be backed by serious international will, especially as the consequences of the failure to prevent the pandemic outbreak in Syria will put our people and the whole world at serious risk.”
The SOC added that it is working, through its executive arms, at full capacity and with all seriousness to participate in the global campaign to stem the pandemic spread. It is assuming its responsibilities in this regard towards the Syrian people and the people of the world as a whole.
“We stress that the risk facing Syria requires the provision of real support for the Syrian Interim Government (SIG). We warn of the danger of any further delay in the World Health Organization's fulfillment of the pledges it made in accordance with the plan agreed upon with SIG. We demand the immediate delivery of the aid spelled out in the plan.” (Source: SOC’s Media Department)