Once again, Aleppo is back to the top of news headlines on Syria. However, now the headlines are once again about violence. The city has been exposed to the most violent attacks, in which civilian protection has not been guaranteed, nor even taken into consideration. Massive destructive power has been used against residential neighbourhoods, medical facilities and other vital facilities like bakeries and Civil Defense centres.
Since the beginning of the truce on September 12th, 2016, the highest level of violations among all Syrian provinces was recorded in Aleppo. In addition, no humanitarian aid entered the city in spite of the fact that Aleppo was clearly mentioned in the truce agreement, and the humanitarian aid convoys were ready on the Turkish – Syrian border. Once the truce period ended, the Syrian government announced that this truce expired on September 19th. Less than two hours after that, one of the Red Crescent’s centres in rural western Aleppo was targeted; 18 humanitarian aid lorries were destroyed and 14 Red Crescent workers and volunteers were killed.
On September 23rd, the Syrian government announced the start of an Aleppo war backed by Russian air cover. Thus, all of Aleppo’s besieged neighbourhoods along with its rural areas are all under fire. This time, thermobaric missiles were used, which not only kill people above the earth’s surface, but also destroy all underground shelters along with all those who sought shelter there. In addition, barrel bombs, white phosphorous and cluster bombs were used.
This violent attack caused the deaths of dozens and hundreds of injured people as put many hospitals out of service. Civil defense centres were destroyed and put out of service. In response, Syrian activists called this attack”Aleppo Holocaust”, due to its intensity.
As we, Centre for Civil Society and Democracy, condemn these attacks, we hold the UN Security Council responsible for what is going on in Syria due to its inability to arrive at any form of agreement to save innocent lives. We also call on the Security Council to position the interests of Syrian civilians as the compass for agreements. In addition, we call for:
- Issuing a binding resolution for a complete and instant end to the military attack, evacuating injured people and delivering humanitarian aid without restrictions.
- We call on the international community to carry out its responsibility to protect Syrian civilians.
- We call on all parties to be neutral towards civilians along with all vital facilities.
In conclusion, we urge all conflicting parties, including international parties, to separate the issue of civilian protection from political issues, as conflating these issues is against human rights conventions.