The Assad regime forces and the Iranian-backed militias committed no fewer than 251 breaches of the nationwide ceasefire in the first week since the truce went into force on December 29, 2016.
According to figures compiled by the Syrian Coalition’s media office, at least 153 people, including 13 women and 23 children, were killed as a result of these breaches. The breaches took place mainly in southern rural Aleppo and Wadi Barada valley in Rural Damascus. The office relied on local news networks and activists to compile these figures, which do not include the areas controlled by the ISIS extremist group.
Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Hayan Ghabani warned of attempts by the Assad regime and its Iranian allies to sabotage the ceasefire agreement in the same way they sabotaged previous agreements. He called for the withdrawal of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Hezbollah Militias from all Syrian territory and for ending support for these militias.
Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, has called on Russia to press the Assad regime to honor its pledge of complying with the ceasefire that Moscow and Ankara jointly brokered.
During a visit to New York City on Thursday to meet the newly-appointed United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters he was worried by breaches of the ceasefire.
Çavuşoğlu also said the cease-fire violations in Syria are the main obstacle to peace negotiations to be held later this month, and he called on the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on those continuing the violence.
“There should be sanctions because otherwise you cannot control this and you cannot go to the political talks, Astana or Geneva,” Çavuşoğlu said. He added that nothing has been finalized yet about sanctions, but “maybe we need another Security Council resolution.”
Member of the Syrian Coalition Dima Moussa said that the Assad regime and Iran continue with their brutal tactics in Syria as they are trying to exploit the ceasefire to carry on with the military solutions through the mass forced displacement of the local population in key area across Syria. Moussa stressed that these tactics, which are aimed at bringing about a demographic change in Syria, constitute war crimes punishable under international law.
Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Mohammed Jojah called upon the United Nations to establish clear mechanisms to monitor the ceasefire and to hold accountable those responsible for the violations “as the only way to force the Assad regime and its Iranian ally to comply with any such agreement.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)