Syrian Opposition Coalition
Department of Media and Communications
September 30, 2023
Today marks the eighth anniversary of Russia’s direct military intervention in Syria. Russia intervened militarily to support the Assad regime in its conflict against the Syrian people who had been demanding freedom and dignity since 2011. In response, the Assad regime, with Russian support, committed numerous violations against the Syrian people, including acts that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. These violations have resulted in the deaths of civilians, the destruction of neighborhoods, homes, civilian facilities, and infrastructure across the country.
Russia’s military support has led to a long list of violations and crimes, including hundreds of massacres, the use of chemical and internationally banned weapons, and the loss of tens of thousands of civilian lives, including thousands of children. Additionally, more than a thousand vital civilian centers, including schools and hospitals, have been affected.
Despite the Assad regime’s heinous crimes, which include murder, disappearances, destruction, and the forced displacement of millions of Syrians, Russia has continued to support the regime. Russia has provided air cover that targeted medical centers and civilian areas, effectively becoming a partner in these actions. Politically, Russia has supported the Assad regime since 2011, using its veto power 18 times to block resolutions condemning the regime and calling for its accountability. Russian vetoes have also contributed to disputes within the UN Security Council, leading to the obstruction of humanitarian aid entry across the border. The most recent obstruction occurred last July, resulting in the non-renewal of the UN Security Council’s resolution.
The Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) emphasizes that the crimes committed by the Assad regime in Syria, with Russian support, would not have resulted in the immense loss of innocent civilian lives if the international community had not failed to address these violations and war crimes against the Syrian people. The international community’s neglect of the UN-sponsored political process in Geneva has left the Syrian people to confront the regime, with its allies, without taking serious action to halt these crimes.
The SOC calls upon the international community to take effective measures to stop the Assad regime from continuing its crimes against the Syrian people and to prevent any party from supporting the regime in its ongoing war against Syrians. The SOC also stresses that a comprehensive political transition in Syria, in line with UN Security Council Resolutions 2118 (2013) and 2254 (2015), is the only path to achieving peace, reconstruction, and the return of refugees and displaced persons.