WASHINGTON D.C., OCTOBER 10, 2019 – The Syrian American Council continues to call for and supports efforts to establish a safe zone in northern Syria with the goal of protecting Syrian civilians, including Syrian Arabs, Assyrians, Druze, and Kurds, who are a part of Syria’s multicultural makeup and must not be conflated with the PKK, a designated terrorist organization responsible for ethnic cleansing, targeting of Kurdish and Arab dissidents, and abuse against locals.
Northeastern Syria and the province of Idlib are full of internally displaced people. The Russian and Assad regime’s offensive against Idlib resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 men, women and children in the past few months alone as part of the Assad regime's systematic campaign to exterminate life in areas outside its control.
A safe zone with the right conditions will ensure a safe haven for the displaced, decrease innocent civilian deaths, and allow Syrian civilians to begin to rebuild their lives and heal their communities. Repatriation of Syrian refugees from Turkey to Syria must not displace residents in areas to which they return and must be safe and voluntary, noting that the ultimate goal is a free and safe Syria that will allow Syrians to return to the areas they were driven out from by the Assad regime backed by Russia and Iran.
“In addition to protecting civilians and preventing further displacement and loss of life, it is in the collective interest of the United States, its local allies, and international partners to support a free democratic Syria, prevent the resurgence of ISIS, and to contain the spread of Iranian and Russian forces in northern Syria.” Said Zaki Lababidi, president of the Syrian American Council. “Accordingly, we urge the U.S. government to maintain its focus on these ends in its decision making moving forward. Any military offensive that causes large-scale civilian displacement and death is contrary to the interests of the Syrian people, regional and global security, and will ultimately serve to benefit negative actors including the Assad regime, ISIS, HTS, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia.”
The Syrian American Council continues to call on the U.S. government to work with all parties, including Turkey, to protect civilians in all areas outside the control of the Assad regime in a thoughtful and coordinated manner to guarantee that the rights of all civilians in northern Syria are protected.
Michelle R. Taylor