Syrian Opposition Coalition
Department of Media and Communications
August 21, 2023
Today marks the ten-year anniversary of one of the most heinous crimes in modern history—a grievous act perpetrated by the Assad regime against innocent civilians in eastern Ghouta, Damascus, on August 21, 2013, employing chemical weapons and resulting in the tragic loss of 1,400 lives. This date also coincides with the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, established in 2017.
The fact that the Assad regime has evaded justice a full decade after committing this brutal atrocity amplifies the agony suffered by the Syrian people. It represents a catastrophic failure in the international community’s approach to addressing criminals and heinous crimes. The United Nations, as well as the Security Council, have fallen short in addressing the issue—despite compelling evidence and comprehensive reports establishing the Assad regime’s culpability in this crime. Shockingly, the perpetrator continues to perpetrate terror against Syrian civilians with impunity.
The SOC strongly underscores that the international community cannot overlook a series of crimes that span more than a decade, executed by the Assad regime in collaboration with Russia and Iran against the Syrian population. This is especially true given the United Nations Security Council’s obligation to enforce its resolutions, including Resolution 2118, which mandates addressing the Assad regime under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Notably, the regime has repeatedly employed chemical weapons a staggering 184 times after ratifying the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use and Manufacturing of Chemical Weapons in September 2013.
While reflecting upon past atrocities of the Assad regime, it is crucial to acknowledge that its crimes against the Syrian people persist. Daily airstrikes and artillery barrages relentlessly target civilians in the liberated areas, while the regime continues its campaign of arrests and torture within its held territories.
The SOC places the responsibility for Syria’s ongoing tragedy squarely upon the international community. The failure to earnestly pursue the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 has dire consequences, deepening the tragedy and perpetuating violations.