Assad Regime and Iran Kill and Maim Hundreds of Civilians in Douma; International Community Must Act to Stop Massacres in Syria

In response to the regime's brutal massacre of civilians in Douma on Sunday, the President of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, Dr. Khaled Khoja, released the following statement. On behalf of the Syrian National Coalition, President Khoja calls on the Arab League, the UN Security Council, the European Union, and the Friends of Syria to:
  • condemn the massacres and; 
  • convene emergency meetings to discuss the necessary measures to protect civilians in Syria.

 

17 August 2015 

"The massacres this weekend by the regime of Bashar Assad and Iran in Douma, Zabadani, and Idlib require immediate Arab and international action.

Assad regime warplanes, backed by occupying Iranian militias, launched a series of ongoing air strikes, shelling systematically cities and towns, including Douma, Zabadani, and Idlib and their surrounding areas. The strikes are not random; the aircraft missiles are deliberately dropped in areas meant to target as many civilians as possible, and the timing of the strikes came at the most crowded rush hours in regular streets and local open-air markets.

It is well known that targeting crowded  civilian areas is a war crime and a violation of international law, regardless of any arguments or justifications. However, the regime goes beyond even this, to a new egregious level where civilians in general are its particular target, and it seeks to take down the largest number of civilians in each raid.

Now, under the constant bombardment and with the increasing number of the dead and maimed Syrians, it has become increasingly difficult for ambulances and rescue teams to recover the wounded and dead, especially given the lack of resources in an area that has been besieged for more than three years, lacking even basic necessities for emergency and health services.

The brutal bombing this weekend of a popular market in Douma city, a rural suburb of Damascus, has resulted in the death of some 100 civilians and the wounding of 300 others. This new massacre is part of a bloody campaign carried out by the regime and Iranian forces around the Ghouta area near Damascus and in Idlib which has claimed the lives of 450 civilians within the past week, most of them women and children.

The National Coalition holds the Iranian occupiers and the Assad regime fully responsible for these massacres.  Moreover, we view the stance of the Security Council and the tepid reaction of the international community as contributing factors in the escalation of massacres against Syrian civilians. We call on the Arab League, the Security Council, the European Union, and the Friends of Syria to condemn the massacres and convene emergency meetings to discuss the necessary measures to protect civilians in Syria. 

The National Coalition condemns all types of military and financial support that is offered to the Assad regime, and especially any supplies of arms and ammunition under any pretext and from any party whatsoever. We view this as participation in crimes against humanity and remind the international community that its legal and moral responsibility require it to stop allowing this regime to continue its criminal actions.

Considering the recent events, the President of the National Coalition Dr. Khaled Khoja is in contact with the foregin ministers of several countries and is urging them to act on the basis of political, moral and legal responsibilities and obligations."

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