October 11, 2013
The Syrian Coalition is deeply concerned by today’s report by Human Rights Watch, detailing recent human rights abuses committed in the rural Latakia governorate. We unequivocally condemn all human rights violations committed by armed groups, including extra-judicial killings and kidnappings.
In a letter sent to Human Rights Watch, the Syrian Coalition restated its commitment to international human rights law and international humanitarian law. We once again disavowed the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) and Jaish al-Muhajireen wa al-Ansar, which are the two main perpetrators identified in the report.
In all cases of human rights violations, we will seek to apply rigorous standards to bring perpetrators to justice. As independent reports have verified, the Assad regime is responsible for the vast majority of human rights violations during the revolution, and this is a government that has survived for decades at the expense of its people’s lack of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Assad and his regime can have no role in a future Syria, in which the people will seek to reconcile and rebuild without the authoritarian shadow of the Assad regime in Syria. The regime blocks the world’s efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, and meanwhile it has encouraged sectarian divisions in Syrian society and it has created exactly the type of lawless, militarized environment in which extremists thrive.
The incident reported by HRW in today’s report does not represent an effort by the true Syrian opposition, but rather a shameful one-time attack by outlier extremist groups that thrive under the hand of the Assad regime. It does not signify or report on a coordinated campaign by the opposition, but meanwhile the Assad regime continues its systematic attacks against civilian areas and continues to block even humanitarian assistance.
The Syrian Coalition reaffirms its willingness to provide human rights monitors, including the independent Commission of Inquiry, with free and safe access in the liberated areas of Syria.
As the Syrian regime continues to exercise a nation-wide, systematic, and brutal campaign of human rights violations, it is imperative that members of the international community continue to report and condemn the serious war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian regime. Further steps by the international community are urgently required to prevent future atrocities, and to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
As long as the conflict is allowed to continue, there is a real risk that extremist groups will grow in strength and that the human rights situation in Syria will worsen. The Syrian Coalition therefore reiterates its calls on the international community to reinvigorate all efforts to end the conflict in Syria and support our country’s transition to a free and inclusive democracy.