Syrian Opposition Coalition
Department of Media and Communications
February 25, 2021
The Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) stresses that the evidence recently cited by Stephen Rapp, Chair of the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, on war crimes committed in Syria are of high importance and will have a direct impact on the issue of accountability in Syria. The SOC also stresses the need to highlight this issue in US circles and include it once again on the agenda of the international community.
In this context, a number of points must be highlighted:
First: This trove of evidences, in its entirety, represents real support for the Syrian people’s struggle against the Assad regime.
Second: This evidence support the positions calling for helping the Syrian people achieve their goals and bring about a genuine, full political transition.
Third: This evidence must act as a reminder for the international community to assume its responsibility with regard to the reality in Syria and the issue of accountability. It also represents a source of condemnation of the countries that do not act in line with their responsibilities.
We are today in front of 900,000 documents and hundreds of thousands of testimonies that are increasing with every passing hour. This trove of evidence confirms that the Assad regime committed all kinds of atrocious crimes, betrayal, violation or breach of law and ethics with the aim of clinging to power and preventing the people from regaining their rights, including the use of chemical weapons, war crimes, murder, torture, crimes against humanity, mass forced displacement crimes, among many others.
The question that any citizen of any UN member state must ask is what crime a regime or authority should commit so that the international community and its institutions rush to save civilians?
The failure to hold the Assad regime accountable and allowing it to play a role in the future of Syria and the region means two things:
First: To send a message to all authoritarian regimes around the world that they can commit all violations, crimes and atrocities without the fear of consequences, which risk undermining international law and negating all achievements of human civilization.
Second: The failure to hold the criminals of the regime accountable will encourage them to commit more crimes until all the free Syrians are annihilated, then repeat their crimes, atrocities and brutal policies in the future against the Syrian people and the peoples of the region and the world for generations to come.
The SOC reaffirms that this issue cannot be resolved through negotiations with the criminals, and that the international community has a legal duty to refer this issue to the International Criminal Court.
It is imperative to put an end to this endless litany of crimes this regime is committing in Syria with Russian and Iranian support, and encouraged by international and international inaction. The parties involved in crimes will not change their behavior and positions voluntarily, but rather by the force of law. The international community no longer has any excuses, such as the Russian or Chinese veto or others.
The findings of the investigation committee of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which issued its report in April of last year, confirmed the Assad regime’s deliberate use of chemical weapons against civilians in violation of UN Resolution 2118. This must open the door legitimately – in accordance with Article 21 of UN resolution 2118 – for international action under Chapter VII, forcing the regime to stop its crimes immediately, holding war criminals accountable, and the implementation of all UN resolutions on Syria, including ensuring the release of detainees, the return of refugees and the start of rebuilding the country.