Press Statement Original in arabic
August 15, 2016
The Assad regime and Russian air forces continues to brutally bomb Aleppo, Idlib and Daraya, killing over 400 civilians in the past week. Internationally banned weapons, most notably cluster bombs, vacuum bombs, napalm and barrel bombs have been widely used in the Russian and Assad regime bombings.
The intense aerial bombardment has destroyed most of the field hospitals and many civil defense centers in Aleppo, Idlib and Daraya. The targeting of civil defense centers caused the destruction of vehicles and equipment as well as injured dozens of rescue workers, known as the White Helmets. These deliberate attacks have left tens of thousands of civilians without access to basic medical and ambulance services, which will further exacerbate the suffering of the Syrian people as civilian casualties will most likely rise as a result of the ongoing aerial campaign.
The Syrian Coalition’s presidential and political bodies as well as its legal office have contacted international bodies, chief among them were the United Nations, the European Union, the foreign ministers of the United States, Britain, France and Germany as well as the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) to protest against the continued war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Assad regime, Russia and Iran all across Syria, especially in Aleppo, Idlib and the district of Daraya in Rural Damascus.
The Assad regime and Russian jets have been conducting no fewer than 150 airstrikes on these areas on a daily basis. Toxic chlorine gas was used in at least two of these attacks, which resulted in hundreds of cases of asphyxiation among children and women.
In a memo sent to representatives of countries and concerned organizations, the Syrian Coalition emphasized that the bombing of civilians and vital civilian infrastructure blatantly contravenes UN Security Council resolutions, especially article 13 of UNSCR 2254 which demanded an immediate stop to the bombing of health facilities as well as the indiscriminate artillery and aerial bombing of civilians. Eight months since the adoption of UNSCR 2254, the international community is still unable to enforce the resolution which has been violated by Russia, one of the signatories to it.
The Syrian National Coalition, therefore, emphasizes the following:
- It calls upon the UN Security Council to force the Russian Federation, as a permanent member of the Council, to immediately comply with UNSCR 2254, particularly articles 12, 13 and 14. It also calls on the UNSC to press towards stopping the bombing; lifting the sieges; and ensuring the return of refugees to their homes. Moreover, the Council must hold Russia legally and politically responsible for the targeting of civilians, medical and educational facilities and the places of worship, including the recent bombing of the Evangelical Church in Idlib.
- To consider the use of napalm, barrel bombs and toxic gases as war crimes according to international law and article 13 of UNSCR 2254 which called for respecting international law and the international humanitarian law.
- The Syrian Coalition calls upon the United States and the European Union to renew strict sanctions on perpetrators of war crimes, namely the Assad regime officials, foreign terrorist militias, and all those responsible for targeting Syria’s civilians.
- The Syrian Coalition calls upon the UN Security Council to refer Bashar al-Assad and the pillars of his regime who commit war crimes and hinder political transition in Syria to the International Criminal Court. Sending wrong the messages to Bashar al-Assad and his allies encourages them to commit more crimes.
The spectacular gains rebel and FSA have lately made in Aleppo have brought in near hysteria on Assad and his allies, making him commit wholesale massacre against the Syrian people.
The Syrian Coalition warns that the failure of the international community to shoulder its responsibilities will aggravate violence and undermine hopes for peace and stability Syrians seek away from tyranny, aggressors and the foreign militias.