Syrian human rights defenders and medics are joining the UN’s strong call on Member States to take concrete steps to deter airstrikes on Syrian civilians that are destroying the nation and rendering a political solution impossible. In response to the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs’ statement, delivered today at the Security Council, Syrian civil society groups are appealing to the United States and Europe to heed the UN’s calls and take urgent action to protect Syrian civilians – starting with the enforcement of a nationwide no-bomb zone.
“The United Nations has finally confirmed what we Syrians have long known: that airstrikes by Russia and Assad are the leading cause of civilian death in Syria and only through effective deterrence measures will Syrians stand a meaningful chance at peace. Now it is time for countries with the capacity to deter those airstrikes to demonstrate similar courage and take the measures needed to protect Syrian civilians – first and foremost by enforcing a no-bomb zone over all of Syria”, said Dr. Mahmoud Moustafa, Director of the Independent Doctors Association said.
“The United States and our allies in Europe would save as many as 200 civilian lives per week through their enforcement of a nationwide no-bomb zone. Limited military deterrence through ships based in the Mediterranean would not require boots on the ground or planes in the sky – but it would dramatically lower the death toll and apply the pressure needed to bring Assad and Russia to the negotiating table”, said Assaad al Achi, Executive Director of Baytna.
“For several years now, Syrians have come to terms with the fact that stopping the bloodshed is not a question of political feasibility—it’s a question of political will. And that will has been absent,” Rafif Jouejati, Director of FREE-Syria said. “Finally, the statement of the Under-Secretary-General gives us hope that there is growing momentum behind the concept of protecting civilians and taking specific, concrete measures to deter indiscriminate airstrikes. We hope that this momentum will propel the next US administration to take action – unlike the current administration, which has failed repeatedly to lift itself out of apathy on the situation in Syria. Until the US and its Western allies establish and enforce measures to deter indiscriminate airstrikes, thousands more Syrians – primarily women and children – will die needlessly.”
Read the statement on Save Our Syria.