January 16, 2017
The Assad regime forces on Sunday carried out a horrible massacre in the village of Deir Qanun in the besieged Wadi Barada valley northwest of Damascus. The massacre claimed the lives of 15 civilians and left dozens more injured.
Civilians fleeing the regime’s barrel bombs and rockets took refuge in a building they thought would protect them from the barrel bombs, rockets, and bombs regime forces and their allied foreign militias were raining on the area. However, the building was directly hit by a tank belonging to regime forces, resulting in a horrible massacre. The brutal assault regime forces and their allies are launching on Wadi Barada valley is clearly aimed at changing the demography of the region.
The Syrian Coalition condemns this heinous crime as it underscores the need for guarantors of the ceasefire agreement to shoulder their responsibilities towards breaches of the agreement. These breaches included the assassination of the retired Major General Ahmed Ghadban by the Hezbollah militias on Sunday. Ghadban was mandated to negotiate with the Assad regime and the Hezbollah militias on behalf of the residents trapped in the area. It is worth mentioning that regime forces and their allies have breached the ceasefire agreement over 350 times since it was announced on December 29, 2016.
The international community is obliged to take action to stop breaches of the truce and violations of UN Security Council resolutions by the Assad regime and the Iranian-backed militias. Urgent actions must be taken to consolidate the truce. Pressure must be exerted on Assad and his allies to restart the political process in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.