photo By: Philippe Desmazes/AFP
[23 February 2017, GENEVA] – Today, Syrian civil society representatives arrived in Geneva to make clear that all parties to the conflict attending the new round of peace talks must prioritize the needs of Syrians inside Syria.
“Syrians want an end to the violence”, Dr. Haytham Alhamwi of Rethink Rebuild Society stated. “We need immediate, full humanitarian access to all Syrians and a political solution that achieves freedom, justice and dignity. We are hopeful the Geneva process can achieve this, but to do so the safety and security of Syrian civilians must come first. Indiscriminate violence against civilians must stop.”
The ceasefire established on 30 December 2016 is fraying. On Monday, 20 February 2017, air-to-surface missiles struck the Maaret Missrin hospital in Idlib killing 7 civilians and injuring 35 others. In Daraa, hundreds of Syrian regime and Russian airstrikes have caused dozens of civilian deaths and rendered medical facilities inoperable.
“This week’s attacks are a fraction of the hundreds of violations that threaten the Syrian ceasefire and delegitimize peace talks”, Fadel Abdul Ghany of the Syrian Network for Human Rights warned. “We, civil society organizations that represent and serve the Syrian people, have a constructive role to play in the political process and are paramount in securing a long-term, sustainable peace. But so long as indiscriminate violence continues with impunity and indiscriminate weapons eradicate the civilians we serve our contribution will be ineffective.”