Members of the International Syria Support Group
Today US Secretary of State John Kerry set out in clear terms to the UN Security Council that the immediate international response to the Syria crisis – and the critical step to revive the failing cessation – is to prohibit military aircraft from flying over Syria to protect the civilian population. We are writing to you, as members of Syrian and international civil society and humanitarian aid groups, to urge you to turn Kerry’s words into action and ensure that any Cessations of Hostilities lays the basis for a serious political process and a much needed end to the Syrian crisis. Because sadly in its current form, the cessation has failed both to save lives and to generate the political pressure needed to improve the humanitarian situation.
We know from experience that without concrete steps to enforce this cessation and protect civilians, it will only end in more bloodshed. We are already seeing evidence to this effect. In the first 72 hours of the cessation over 60 violations took place, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. More than 120 civilians have been killed according to the Violations Documentation Center. Madaya, Douma, Homs, Daraa, Latakia, Idlib governorate: all have been attacked in assaults perpetuated by regime forces and their allies. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are under threat of starvation as the regime denies aid access to eastern Aleppo, including the deliberate targeting of UN aid convoys en route to the city, killing 12 aid workers. These attacks will intensify so long as those responsible are permitted to act with impunity and face no consequences for their atrocities.