The Syrian American Council, the largest and oldest grassroots Syrian American organization, is astounded at the U.S. State Department's absurd claim of "bringing peace, security to Syria" in 2015.
Last year saw the death of at least 50,000 Syrians or 150 people per day and the full collapse of President Obama's "containment policy." The Syrian refugee crisis convulsed European countries. Russia's brazen intervention to defend Assad threatened a wider regional war. ISIS terrorists lashed out from Syria to carry out the bloodiest attack in France since World War Two.
If this is "bringing peace," we shudder to imagine what will befall Syrians if Secretary of State John Kerry ever attains a "national ceasefire" in Syria. Below is just a brief timeline of the "peace" Syrianshave seen in 2015.
In March 2015, only eleven days after UNSC Resolution 2209 forbade further chemical attacks with chlorine in Syria, the Assad regime dropped a chlorine-filled barrel bomb on the village of Sarmin and killed multiple civilians. At least 14 more chemical attacks followed this one, making further mockery of President Obama's "red line."
In July 2015, the Obama Administration refused to support Turkish plans for a safe zone that would have brought hundreds of thousands of civilians "peace and security" from regime airstrikes, even though France and Britain had also endorsed the plan. Hundreds of Syrianchildren have died since then as the U.S. continues to drag its feet.
In August 2015, the Assad regime conducted one of its bloodiest airstrikes of the entire war when its warplanes targeted a packed vegetable market in Douma during the morning rush hour. 96 civilians perished and some 200 others were wounded in the attack. In early September 2015, photographs of the drowned Syrian child Aylan al-Kurdi dramatized to the entire world the gravity of the Syrian refugee crisis. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fled to European shores in the months that followed, sparking the worst refugee crisis in Europe since the aftermath of World War Two.
In late September 2015, Russia launched a massive intervention in Syria that systematically targeted schools, markets, mosques, and hospitals. Russian warplanes have killed dozens at a time through airstrikes onto crowds of civilians. U.S.-funded hospitals have been hit, and CIA-backed moderate rebels have been targeted while ISIS was largely spared. Russia has at times grounded U.S. planes in Syria. Russian warplanes have killed 2300 civilians and counting.
In December 2015, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2254 outlining a political transition and "peace" in Syria. Within 48 hours, Russian warplanes massacred over 40 people by targeting a market in Ariha town. Within five days, the Assad regime had shattered a long-running local ceasefire by deploying chemical weapons against Moadamiya and launching a full ground assault. Within one week, Russia had assassinated a top anti-ISIS rebel commander who had committed to the upcoming "peace" talks.
The above is just a snippet of what Syrian civilians have had to endure at the hands of the Assad Regime, Iran, Hezbollah, Russia, and ISIS in 2015. Judging by the bloody week that followed the passage of UNSC Resolution 2254, the coming year looks to be no better.
Yet the State Department has the gall to claim that it is bringing "peace" and "security" to Syria. Department spokesman Marc Toner even reiterated yesterday that "We are bringing peace and security to Syria, I think that is a truthful claim." "As Syrians, these claims strike us as positively delusional in light of the ongoing slaughter our people suffer." said Mohammed Ghanem, the Government Relations Director at the Syrian American Council.
Empty diplomatic resolutions and cheerful press conferences can not bring peace to Syria after five years of butchery at the hands of the Assad regime, Russia, and numerous other terrorist groups such as ISIS, Hezbollah, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The United States should act immediately to enforce the mooted UNSC resolutions that the State Department once lauded in its press releases, starting with the implementation of a safe zone for Syrian civilians. The U.S. must exert military pressure on the Assad regime to ensure a genuine political transition in Syria, because the Syrianswho rose up for freedom and democracy will accept nothing less.