On 23 September a Syrian civil society delegation met with UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura. After the meeting, members of the delegation said:
“The Special Envoy was clear that the cessation would not hold if the Syrian regime – and Russia – were permitted to bomb, starve and torture Syrian civilians with impunity. It was clear from our meeting that De Mistura is convinced that until there is effective punishment for violations of the ceasefire by those who have the capacity to deter indiscriminate airstrikes – the bombing of civilians would continue,” Mutasem Alsyofi of the Syrian Civil Society Declaration said.
“Regrettably, he does not believe that the current US administration is prepared to take the necessary action to save civilian lives. Despite this, he will continue to move towards a next round of Geneva talks focused on the devolution of power.”
In the meeting, Syrian civil society members were clear that they could not support a return to Geneva until a guarantee was provided that violations of the cessation would be met with consequences – specifically, action to protect civilians through the enforcement of a nationwide no-bomb zone.
“We cannot support a return to Geneva until our people are made safe—and that will not happen through misguided deals with Russia. As long as parties are indiscriminately targeting civilians – and no steps are taken to protect them – the Geneva process will be destined to fail, and will only be a source of further suffering of our people.”
The delegation called on the Special Envoy to make clear to the Security Council that a peace process could not succeed until clear consequences were put in place for the violations of the cessation, chiefly concrete steps to protect all Syrian people across all of Syria from all indiscriminate violence, including aerial bombardment.
Read the statement on Save Our Syria.