On Tuesday 10 November, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, will brief the Security Council on the status of Vienna peace talks. Ahead of his briefing to the Council, the Special Representative of the Syrian National Coalition, Dr. Najib Ghadbian, issued a letter to the Security Council making the case of Syrian participation in peace talks and calling for clear guarantees of civilian protection from indiscriminate air strikes. In the letter, Dr. Ghadbian wrote:
“For the Vienna process to stand a chance of winning the support of Syrians, the allies of the Syrian people must provide clear guarantees that Syrian civilians will be protected, in particular from indiscriminate aerial bombardment which remains the foremost killer of Syrian civilians, responsible for 62 percent of all civilian deaths in October 2015. The implementation of a no-bombing zone would stem the killing in Syria, slow the exodus that prompts the refugee crisis and lay the foundation towards a political solution to the crisis.
“Approximately 1,000 civilians die every month in Syria. Five Syrian children are killed every day according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. As the UN Secretary-General stated to the Security Council on 30 September 2015 ‘we need to take urgent measures to protect civilians from widespread violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. We have an obligation to the Syrian people.’ This is an obligation that is equally incumbent on the participants of talks in Vienna as it is on the UN and the rest of the international community. The notable absence of any Syrians in the Vienna risks taking talks into an unhelpful direction, where the essential wants and needs of Syrians themselves are ignored.”
The full PDF of the Syrian National Coalition’s letter can be downloaded here.