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.