The Syrian American Council today issued an urgent call to action for people of conscience, both Syrian and non-Syrian, to raise their voices in the face of a dramatic uptick in violence in Syria. From the accidental killing of over 85 civilians by U.S. forces on Tuesday; to the regime's imposition of a siege on some 400,000 civilians in Syria's largest city of Aleppo earlier this month; to Russia and the Assad regime's escalating usage of cluster bombs, phosphorous, and napalm on civilians since June -- people of conscience must respond rapidly before such heightened violence becomes the new norm.
We are particularly concerned about the possibility of an impending massacre in Daraya, where over 8,000 civilians live on the verge of starvation after years of siege. Assad regime forces have launched a fierce offensive against the town and are making gains. Civilians are being forced into an ever-smaller and more densely populated area, which the regime then bombards with barrel bombs and missiles to maximize civilian casualties. Local activists in Daraya, a nationwide icon of civil resistance, fear that the regime could conduct house-to-house massacres if the town falls. Thousands of civilians could fall in what may amount to one of the worst single massacres anywhere in the world.
We fear these actions foreshadow what the regime and its allies will do to Aleppo and other besieged areas. The consequences could be on the scale of Srebrenica in Daraya and Rwanda in Aleppo.
SAC is calling all people of faith, good conscience, and conviction to pressure their governments to end the sieges and protect civilians by embracing the following three principles:
PRINCIPLE 1: REAFFIRMING THE SYRIAN PEOPLES’ RIGHT TO FREEDOM
• Speak truth to power by shattering the silence surrounding the war crimes and crimes against humanity being perpetrated against the Syrian people
• Recognize and celebrate the goals and aspirations of the Syrian people: Freedom, Dignity and Respect.
PRINCIPLE 2: STOPPING AIR ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS
• End aerial bombardments on civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, and market places, by the Assad Regime and its Russian allies. Work with the international community to pressure Russia and the regime to stop their assaults on civilians and support the establishment of safe zones.
PRINCIPLE 3: DEMANDING IMMEDIATE AND FULL HUMANITARIAN ACCESS
• Enable immediate access, both by ground vehicles and by air, to food, water, and medication to all besieged areas in Syria.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington D.C.- The Syrian American Council, America's largest and oldest Syrian-American grassroots organization, congratulates the Turkish people for their brave and clear rejection of the military coup attempt against their democratically elected government.
By standing up united in support of their constitutional democracy, the Turkish people and their political leaders have given hope to the people of the Middle East that military dictatorships can no longer be tolerated as a convenient form of government. Turkish democracy appeared healthy and resilient due to the fact that all of the three main opposition parties have acted quickly and unequivocally to reject the military coup.
"The people of the Middle East are no longer ordained to be governed by either a military dictatorship or by a theocracy. We call upon world leader to muster the courage and wisdom needed to uphold the principles of representative democracy in the region instead of political expediency" said Dr. Zaki Lababidi, the government relations chair of the Syrian American Council.
For Questions Contact:
Suzanne Meriden, 714-595-8974
Washington, DC -The Syrian American Council, the oldest and largest grassroots Syrian-American organization, condemns the heart-breaking attacks at the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey which claimed at least 42 innocent lives and injured over 200 people on Tuesday. Though no one has claimed responsibility, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has stated that ISIS is responsible.
Turkey has been hit by a wave of terror attacks by ISIS and a PKK offshoot since the start of 2016, including a suicide bombing at the historic Blue Mosque in Istanbul, a bus bombing in the central square of the capital Ankara, and a rocket attack on a minibus in Diyarbakir, southern Turkey. The upsurge in violence is in many ways a spillover from the vicious attacks being carried out by the Assad regime, Iran-backed militias, and Russia on civilians across the border.
"Unless the Assad regime is uprooted, terror and assassinations in the Middle-East -- tools that Assad and his allies Russia, Iran and Hizbollah have consistently resorted to -- will not stop," said Dr. Zaki Lababidi, SAC's Government Relations Chair.
Washington, DC - The Syrian American Council mourns the victims of ISIS' horrifying terror attack last night in Orlando, Florida killing at least 50 people in the worst mass shooting in American history.ISIS' radical ideology holds no bounds. Syrians are among the foremost victims of ISIS in the world -- according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights over 5800 Syrians were killed by ISIS since 2014, more than any other group.SAC President Mirna Barq who is from Orlando made the following statement:
The Syrian American Council, America's largest and oldest grassroots Syrian American organization, requests an urgent clarification from Secretary of State John Kerry and Department of Defense spokesman Col. Steve Warren following their grossly incorrect remarks last week on Syrian rebels in Aleppo. On April 20, Col. Warren wrongly asserted that it's "primarily al-Nusra," the Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate, that holds Aleppo. Secretary Kerry echoed these remarks two days later by falsely tying a Russian military buildup to "impatience with the terrorists...laying siege to places on their side and killing people."Read more
Washington, DC - The Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS) filed a request this week with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) urging that body to renew and re-designate Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). In accordance with 8 U.S.C. § 1254a, the Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely. The ongoing conflict in Syria, with Assad and his allies' constant civilian killing and the increasing prevalence of extremist groups like ISIS, requires that TPS be extended and re-designated.Read more
Washington, DC - The Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS) expresses its solidarity with the High Negotiating Committee (HNC) of the Opposition, and its commitment to participating in Geneva talks despite impossible conditions. The talks, which have now been suspended, reflect an international community, led by the US, that is more interested in the existence of a process than the pursuit of peace. While Western diplomats and officials can return to their home countries and discuss the efforts made in Geneva, Syrians continue to die by the hundreds each day, and conditions in besieged areas deteriorate.Read more
SAC, in partnership with CDS and the Syrian American community, issues a letter to Secretary Kerry Demanding Support of the HNC in Light of Upcoming Geneva Talks
Washington, DC – The Syrian American Council, the largest and oldest grassroots Syrian American organization in the United States, in partnership with the Coalition for a democratic Syria, issued a letter to Secretary John Kerry yesterday on behalf of the Syrian community.Read more