Syrian Opposition Coalition
Department of Media and Communications
August 21, 2021
On this day in 2013, the Assad regime committed the massacre of the century, using sarin against Syrian civilians in eastern Ghouta. The anniversary also coincides with the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on this date in 2017.
This massacre still bears witness to the reality of the regime and its allies. The international community’s stances towards this massacre have turned into a political, legal and humanitarian scandal, especially following the shameful deal that provided for handing over the instrument of the crime while setting the perpetrator at large.
Multiple independent, official, and UN reports confirmed the regime’s resumption of using chemical weapons, including sarin, on several occasions, without the international community or its institutions taking action.
History teaches us that no one is immune from becoming a victim of terrorism. Everyone should realize the danger posed by regimes that use terrorism and terrorist tools, as well as the obstacles they place in front of humanity at the political, economic, humanitarian, legal and environmental levels.
The anniversary of the crime of the century, the Maarat al-Nassan Massacre, and the Daraya Massacre are all but a fraction of the atrocities and massacres that the regime committed in the past 10 years. There is a real possibility of more killings, abuses and displacement at the hands of the regime and its allies, without the victims being redressed, and without criminals receiving the punishment they deserve.
Respecting the rights of victims of terrorism, supporting them and working to mitigate the harm inflicted on them by terrorist regimes and organizations requires, in the first place, establishing an effective international legal mechanism for holding criminals accountable and preventing any protection for them or providing them with political or diplomatic cover. Absent this mechanism, terrorism will remain part of the future of humanity.
We renew our condolences to the families of the victims of the massacre of the century, most of whom were women and children. We demand on their behalf that these crimes be referred to the International Criminal Court, with immediate measures to stop the crimes of the regime and its allies against the Syrian people.
It is imperative that the international community restore its role in Syria and assume its responsibilities for what is happening. Major states in the UN Security Council are required to exert real pressure to stop these crimes, hold criminals accountable, and support political transition in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012, UN Security Council Resolutions 2118 and 2254, and UN General Assembly Resolution 67/262 which provides for the formation of a transitional governing body with full executive powers.