August Letter to UNSC on Resolutions 2139/65/91

On 25 August, the Syrian National Coalition's Special Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Najib Ghadbian, delivered the SNC's monthly letter to the Security Council on compliance with resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014) and 2191 (2014). The letter calls on the Council to:

  1. Answer Syrians’ calls for civilian protection by enforcing a no-fly zone in Syria.  A no-fly zone would save some 200 civilian lives a week.  It would stop the leading killer of Syrian civilians: Assad’s illegal barrel bombs.  If the Security Council will not enforce a no-fly zone, then Member States must;

  2. Enforce Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014) and 2191 (2014) by instructing the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to all Syrians in need, including in Douma, where hundreds of Syrian civilians are in urgent need of medical supplies but denied access due to a brutal siege overseen by Syrian regime forces;

  3. Refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).  An ICC referral would help provide a path towards justice for the 1,429 Syrians gassed to death by Assad’s forces on 21 August, and 140,000 Syrians killed since.  It would also deter future crimes by making clear to all war criminals that their atrocities will be met by clear consequences.  If the Security Council will not agree a referral, Member States should establish an alternative mechanism such as a Special Tribunal.

View the letter below or download a pdf copy here.


 

H.E. Mrs. U. Joy Ogwu
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
President of the UN Security Council
 
25 August 2015
 
Your Excellency,
 
On behalf of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, it is with grave concern that I draw your attention to the rising death toll in Syria and the wanton destruction of civilian life by Assad’s forces, in advance of the Under-Secretary-General’s briefing to the UN Security Council on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria and the implementation of Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014) and 2191 (2014).
 
August was another deadly month in the Syrian crisis.  As of 24 August, an estimated 826 civilians had been killed, more than half of whom had been killed by Assad’s indiscriminate aerial weapons, including barrel bombs.  In Douma, Zabadani, Aleppo and Idlib, the Syrian regime’s aerial attacks on civilians, medical facilities, and schools continued with increasing devastation (see Annex I).  The situation was particularly horrific in civilian-occupied areas northeast of Damascus, where Assad’s forces engaged in a calculated campaign to eradicate opposition-strongholds in and around the capital.  On 16 August, Syrian regime air raids pounded the heavily populated marketplace of Douma, a suburb of Damascus, resulting in over 111 civilian deaths in what is one of the bloodiest atrocities committed by the regime in four years.  The scale and barbarity of the attack prompted immediate international condemnations, including a scathing indictment from the UN Special Envoy for Syria, who called the regime’s attacks on civilians in Douma “devastating” and “unacceptable.”  Yet just one week later, on 22 August, Assad’s aerial forces returned to the besieged city, killing more than 50 civilians.  As I write, Syrian rescue workers are in the process of trying to save civilians trapped under the ruble of Assad’s destruction.   
 
The attacks on the Damascus suburbs are particularly devastating coming as they do on the second anniversary of the chemical weapons attacks on Ghouta, when Assad’s forces deliberately gassed more than 1,400 people, including more than 400 children, to death.  Like the barrel bomb attacks on Douma, the chemical attacks on Ghouta remain mired in impunity.  No one has been held accountable for the use of chemical weapons.  No justice has been served for the children, mothers and fathers who lost their loved ones.  No one has suffered consequences for orchestrating, authorizing, or participating in the single worst war crime of the 21st century.  As a result, war crimes across Syria have continued unabated and the humanitarian situation has grown from bad to catastrophic.
 
Since the attacks on Ghouta on 21 August 2013, the death toll in Syria has soared from 110,000 to over 250,000 killed.  The number of Syrian refugees has doubled, from 2 to 4 million.  The number of Syrians in need has surged, from 6.8 million to more than 12 million people.  Extremist forces have proliferated, assuming control of as much 50 percent of Syrian territory.  And the killing has continued through both conventional and chemical means.  In the past two years, Assad has used chemical agents as a weapon of war on more than 46 separate occasions, while his forces have killed more than 12,500 civilians with deadly barrel bombs. 
 
Few have suffered more than the roughly 640,000 Syrians living in besieged areas across the country, and the millions of others trapped in hard-to-reach areas.  Far too many Syrian civilians continue to be denied aid by a brutal regime that employs the denial of vital humanitarian aid as a weapon of war in a desperate bid to starve its citizens into submission.  The situation is nowhere more dire than in Douma, where nearly 300 urgent surgeries cannot be performed because the Assad regime denies life-saving medical supplies, including antibiotics and anthelmistic needed to treat infections.
 
Your Excellency, the war crimes in Syria must be stopped.  The Syrian people need protection.  They are dying without it. Ahead of the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affair’s briefing to the Council on Syria on 27 August, I therefore appeal to the Security Council to take the following actions:
  1. Answer Syrians’ calls for civilian protection by enforcing a no-fly zone in Syria.  A no-fly zone would save some 200 civilian lives a week.  It would stop the leading killer of Syrian civilians: Assad’s illegal barrel bombs.  If the Security Council will not enforce a no-fly zone, then Member States must;

  2. Enforce Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014) and 2191 (2014) by instructing the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to all Syrians in need, including in Douma, where hundreds of Syrian civilians are in urgent need of medical supplies but denied access due to a brutal siege overseen by Syrian regime forces;

  3. Refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).  An ICC referral would help provide a path towards justice for the 1,429 Syrians gassed to death by Assad’s forces on 21 August, and 140,000 Syrians killed since.  It would also deter future crimes by making clear to all war criminals that their atrocities will be met by clear consequences.  If the Security Council will not agree a referral, Member States should establish an alternative mechanism such as a Special Tribunal.

Your Excellency, without exception, Security Council resolutions 2118 (2013), 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2209 (2015) and 2235 (2015) have gone unenforced.  The failure to enforce these resolutions has cost countless lives.  The Security Council can and must do better, including by providing the protection my people so desperately need.  The failure of Member States to protect Syrian civilians is no longer a question of legality or feasibility.  It is a question of will.  Inaction is a massive humanitarian betrayal.  And it has fueled a deadly extremist threat that knows no borders.  It is time to take the action in Syria, which will save lives, relieve the humanitarian consequences and make progress against extremism.
 
Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
 
Dr. Najib Ghadbian
Special Representative to the United Nations
Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment


National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces
Committed to a free, democratic, and pluralistic Syria.