February 8, 2014
The Syrian Coalition considers the latest agreement to evacuate civilians from besieged Old Homs a cosmetic and incomplete response to international legal commitments. It falls short of the residents’ expectations in the besieged area.
The Coalition further cautions against considering the agreement a substitute for breaking the siege on Old Homs, as well as on all other besieged areas.
The manipulative nature of the Assad regime raises doubts about its real intentions behind the agreement. The regime will soon find a way to shirk its responsibilities and renege on the deal, as was the case in previous deals, such as the one reached in Moadamiya, rural Damascus, whereby the regime promised people safe exit but arrested a large number of them on their way out. The Assad regime also refused to comply with the six-point plan drawn up by former UN envoy Kofi Annan in 2012.
The Syrian Coalition expresses its deep concern that the evacuation of some civilians from Homs will be a prelude to the regime destroying the city with the remaining residents trapped inside. It is vital to remember that the regime has used similar tactics in the past to change the demographics of some areas in Syria. It has used similar deals to buy time to strengthen its positions on the ground and to kill more civilians.
The Syrian Coalition appreciates the United Nations’ efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people. However, the UN needs to try not to fall into the trap of thinking it can solve a crisis by merely addressing the catastrophic results emanating from it. The international community must deal with the root cause of the crisis. It must realize that Syria can no longer be ruled by a dictator and the Syrian people will no longer tolerate oppression and tyranny.