A hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the town of Maaret al-Nouman in rural Idlib was hit earlier today by Russian air airstrikes. At least seven people were killed and many more wounded in the deliberate attack on the hospital. The hospital was completely destroyed, and the fate of at least eight members of staff is still unknown.
The Syrian Coalition condemned the attack, saying “it is not the first hospital to be targeted by Russian warplanes. Russia has targeted civilian neighborhoods, medical centers, schools and houses of worship. This crime will not be the last as long as the international community keeps silent and shirks its responsibility to respond to them.”
More than 120 humanitarian organizations and United Nations agencies issued a joint appeal today urging the world to raise their voices and call for an end to the Syria crisis and to the suffering endured by millions of civilians.
The organizations warned that “there are 13.5 million individual human beings whose lives and futures are in jeopardy.”
“Now, the war is approaching its sixth brutal year. The bloodshed continues. The suffering deepens,” said the appeal, which is published on the UNICEF website.
“So today, we – leaders of humanitarian organizations and UN agencies – appeal not only to governments but to each of you – citizens around the world – to add your voices in urging an end to the carnage. To urge that all parties reach agreement on a ceasefire and a path to peace,” the appeal went on.
The organizations called for “those with the ability to stop the suffering … to take action now.” It stressed that such action should include “unimpeded and sustained access for humanitarian organizations to bring immediate relief to all those in need inside Syria.
In yet the bloodiest days since Russia began launching airstrikes on Syria, 227 civilians, including 43 children and 22 women, were killed on Friday in intensified air raids on Aleppo, Rural Damascus, Homs and Idlib. The Russian airstrikes hit mainly residential areas, markets and field hospitals.
Osama Taljo, member of the Syrian Coalition and head of Aleppo provisional council, said that the airstrikes hit 25 locations in Aleppo and its rural areas, targeting civilian areas. He added that the Russian air force used more than 100 vacuum and cluster bombs.
Taljo, based in liberated parts of Aleppo, confirms that 107 civilians were killed, adding that rescue teams are still searching for survivors under the rubble. He points out that teams are facing difficulties recovering the victims because of the lack of the necessary equipment.
He said that the National Company for Pharmaceutical Industries has stopped working after being hit with five airstrikes which caused severe damage.
Member of the political committee of Hassan al-Hashemi described the Friday’s bloody massacres as war crimes and crimes against humanity as many of the victims were children and women.
“These airstrikes and their timing reflects the Russian vision of the solution, exactly the same vision of the Assad regime which has pursued a military solution and systematic killing since day one,” Hashemi said. He points to attempts by some parties “to impose a solution in which Bashar al-Assad’s will survive in power, adding that the Syrian people rejects giving Assad any role in Syria’s future, even for a single day.
Hashemi emphasizes that Russia, Iran and the Hezbollah militia have failed for years to force Syrians to their knees, adding they have so far failed to dissuade the Syrian people from their efforts to topple the regime with all its symbols and pillars. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
France will submit a new draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling on the Assad regime to stop using barrel bombs as well as condemning other “indiscriminate attacks” against civilians, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday.
“We have to ensure that the regime stops bombing the civilian population,” Fabius told reporters in a joint press conference with the UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura in Paris.
Fabius also announced that Paris will host foreign-minister level talks on Syria on Oct. 27. Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will not be part of the talks, Fabius added.
Fabius reiterated that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could not be part of any solution since he is the source of the problem and even if he [Bashar al-Assad] apologize “to everyone in the world” it would not change it.
“We considered that the person who is the principal one responsible for the chaos – 250,000 dead – cannot at the same time be the one (as the solution),” Fabius said.
“We need it to be clear that the political solution will lead to another perspective, another reality than someone who is a criminal against humanity,” said the head of French diplomacy.
The Syrian Coalition renews calls on the UN Security Council to enforce resolution 2139 that prohibits the use of barrel bombs in populated areas, to work urgently and seriously to impose safe areas in northern and southern Syria, to ensure the lifting of siege on all areas, and to ensure the introduction of relief aid to the needy civilians. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)
President Khoja urged NATO members meeting in Brussels to support the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria to ensure protection for civilians from ISIS and the Assad regime.
He also calls for finding new effective mechanisms to address the threats posed by ISIS and the Assad regime, which constitute the greatest threat to regional and international security and the main obstacle to any political solution in Syria.
Khoja welcomes initiative Turkey has recently announced to fight ISIS and its intention to establish a safe zone in northern Syria, adding that the safe zone is an important step to ensure protection for Syrian civilians.
He stresses that the Syrian Coalition continues to step its support to local groups to help establish effective civilian administration throughout Syria and maintain basic services, and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
The Syrian Coalition warns of the risks that would result from ISIS’s advance on the ancient site of Palmyra, calling on UNESCO to act quickly to protect the site and sound the alarm of the risks resulting from the clashes between regime forces and ISIS nearby.
Spokesman for the Syrian Coalition Salem al-Meslet condemns the terrorist attack that targeted security sites in Sinai, Egypt, describing the attack as a vicious and criminal act. He extends condolences to the families of the victims, stressing that the Syrian Coalition is standing on the side of the Egyptian people and the Egyptian state in countering such crimes.
Leadership of the Syrian Coalition and the Free Syrian Army met with members of the US Central Command and with the US special envoy to Syria Daniel Rubenstein to discuss the US train and equip program and to reach a better understanding of the situation on the ground in Syria. Khaled Khoja, president of the Syrian Coalition, said that “our top priorities now are providing training for the FSA and restructuring it according to international standards, adding that this training must be accompanied by providing unlimited support and advanced weapons capable of changing the balance on the ground in favor of the FSA. Khoja points out that “the train and equip program will be carried out in coordination with a number of countries of the Friends of Syria group people and the Syrian interim Ministry of Defense. Khoja calls for imposing safe protected havens in northern and southern Syria to ensure the success of train and equip program and allow for the return of large number of refugees to those areas, stressing the need to hold more meetings and discussions about this program. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
Residents of Al-Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus sent a distress call to the international community and humanitarian organizations to take immediate action and work on alleviating their suffering caused by the crippling siege imposed by of the Assad regime. The residents of the district, mostly Palestinian-Syrians refugee, said that “our children are starving, and our suffering is further aggravated by the freezing cold sweeping across the region. We have no food or water, and people are melting down snow to get water.” There is also severe shortage of electricity, heating fuel, medicines, vaccines and baby milk as pro-regime forces prevent the entry of any relief aid to the opposition-held district.
It is worth noting that the Work Group for Palestinian-Syrians, a rights group that follow up on the situation of Palestinian refugees in Syria, said that 2,589 Palestinian-Syrians had been killed since March 2011. Among the victims are 157 woman, 280 who died of torture, and 84 who were summarily executed.
As of November 2014, 80,000 Palestinian-Syrians have fled to neighboring countries, including 14,348 to Jordan and 42,000 to Lebanon according to the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), while, 27,933 more have arrived in Europe. It is worth noting that approximately half a million Palestinian refugees live in Syria, particularly in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Southern Damascus. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)
The Syrian Coalition would like to take this opportunity to wish Syria’s Christians peace and joy on this occasion. Hadi Al-Bahra, President of the Syrian Coalition, said that “over the past four years, Syrians have missed observing holidays and special occasions and instead have been observing sadness, pain, displacement and detention by the Assad regime. Christmas Eve has come with the blessings that Syrians of all different stripes have always welcomed with merriment and anticipation. Every year, this blessed occasion raises hopes that the sacrifices, the blood of the fallen heroes, the patience of the mothers, the steadfastness of the detainees, the pains of the wounded, and the suffering of the displaced would eventually give birth to a new Syria that is free of tyranny, injustice and oppression. Hopefully this day would be the beginning of victory and salvation of the unspeakable suffering that Syrians have been enduring, and an occasion for us all to reaffirm our commitment to standing by the right and to regaining our freedom and dignity.” (Source: Syrian Coalition)
Nasr al-Hariri, Secretary General of the Syrian Coalition, calls on the international community and human rights organizations to “put an end to the grave violations and crimes committed by the Assad regime against detainees, and to impose urgent health control over detention centers. Informed sources from inside the 215th security branch said that security forces executed 131 detainees infected with pneumonic plague, a crime that Hariri described as “a heinous massacre that cannot be tolerated.” He stresses that the international community’s failure to take urgent steps to hold Assad and his security forces accountable for these systematic crimes is an indirect participation in these crimes. This horrific massacre brings to mind the massacre committed against 11,000 detainees who died under torture in Assad’s secret prisons and which was confirmed by the 55,000 photos leaked by a former military photographer.
The Syrian Commission for Transitional Justice has released a report in cooperation with the Syrian Coalition to highlight the crimes of enforced disappearance towards the Syrian people. Ammar Tabbab, director of the Syrian Commission for Transitional Justice and director of the file of enforced disappearances, said that “the commission recorded more than 60,000 cases of forced disappearances in Syria, among them 6,722 people who were liquidated including, 1348 children and 1511 women. He also said that “while Syria is not the first country where forced disappearance is recorded, it is the only country where an entire community has been forcibly disappeared,” citing the regime forces’ closing off of whole areas near Wadi al-Daif army base in Idlib province. Survivors who managed to flee those areas were not given the chance to know the fate of their beloved ones.
Friday, 28 November 2014
The residents of the city of Raqqa, which has been coming under relentless bombing by Assad’s air force for three consecutive days, have sent a distress call following the death of more than 150 civilians in the bombing. An activist in Al Raqqa told the Media Office that the situation in the city foretells a humanitarian catastrophe in view of the severe shortage of medical supplies and blood bags and the inability of the field hospitals to cope with the high number of injuries. People are dying of simple injuries that are otherwise treatable.”
The Syrian National Council said in a statement released today that Al Raqqa massacre has revealed the extent of the international community’s tacit collusion with the Assad regime, which, out of total confidence that its crimes will go unpunished, continues to terrorize the Syrian people in an attempt to break their will and bring them to their kneels. It has also uncovered the de facto coordination between the two sides. Being fully aware that the goal of the international anti-ISIS coalition is not protecting the Syrian civilians, the Assad regime has been further emboldened to commit more massacres. While the people of Al Raqqa have been subjected to all forms of violations at the hands of ISIS, Assad’s unleashes his air force to rain death and destruction on the city under the eyes of the international anti-ISIS alliance whose warplanes do not leave the skies of the city.
Sunday, 16 November 2014
Nasr al-Hariri, Secretary General of the Syrian Coalition, condemns the massacre committed by Assad’s air force in the village of Bilan in rural Al Hasaka. Activists said that 20 children were killed and dozens injured when Assad’s air force hit a school in the village. Hariri reiterates his calls on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards civilians and to stop turning a blind eye to Assad crimes. “As a result to heinous silence the Syrians killed by Assad have become mere numbers documented by rights group,” he said. He also calls for speeding up the arming of the Free Syrian Army and the establishment of safe havens along Syria’s northern and southern borders.
Assad’s air forces bombing of a school in rural Al Hasaka followed similar massacre in the town of Karnaz in rural Hama where dozens of children were killed. Salem al-Meslet, spokesman for the Syrian Coalition, calls for stepping [up] the international efforts to put an end to the genocidal war waged by the Assad regime against the Syrian people using all kinds of weapons. “The Assad regime’s repeated targeting of schools and hospitals requires practical and decisive stance by the international community against these barbaric acts aimed at destroying education in Syria and spreading ignorance among its people. (Source: Syrian Coalition)