The 6th Anniversary of the Breakout of the Popular Uprising towards Freedom, and the Killing of the First Civilians
SNHR has released a report entitled: “The 6th Anniversary of the Breakout of the Popular Uprising towards Freedom, and the Killing of the First Civilians”. The report includes an update on the civilian death toll, children death toll, female death toll, victims due to torture, medical personnel death toll, and media activists death toll.
The report notes that these days mark the 6th anniversary of the popular uprising in Syria that called for freedom, justice, and dignity by overthrowing the oppressive tyrannical Assad regime for a democratically elected regime that truly represents the Syrian people, grants the right to form political parties, and guarantees the basic human rights. This was very clear and frequent in the popular slogans the Syrian people rose and chanted.
The report adds that since the very first days, the Syrian regime’s response was very raw, as the regime met the popular uprising with live bullets, and arrested tens of people. In light of the international silence, the Syrian regime escalated its barbaric operations, where women and children were slaughtered using knives, as we recorded in many reports. Also, the ruthless torture resulted in a huge number of deaths, as it was recorded in the first report by the Commission of Inquiry, published on November 23, 2011, describing most of the Syrian regime’s crimes as crimes against humanity given that they were perpetrated in a systematic, widespread manner.
Furthermore, the report stresses that the Security Council’s inaction and failure to protect civilians in Syria has led to the emergence of pro-Iranian regime Shiite groups that emerged in late-2011, al Qaeda that emerged in January 2012, ISIS that emerged in April 2013, or an international coalition to take down ISIS that emerged in September 2014, or Syrian regime-backing Russian forces that entered Syria in September 2015. Also, the report adds that the Syrian people is now fully aware that the plan was for to Syria to become like this since the very first moments, and the popular uprising’s demands for a pluralistic, democratic regime that would plant the very first seeds of flourishment, justice, and stability were never going to be supported. The Syrian regime was left alone to face one of the most ruthless oppressive regimes on the face of this earth.
The report includes charts that are based on daily and ongoing documentation processes since 2011, where SNHR, through its scattered members throughout the Syrian governorates, monitors killings, and highlights most notable news and massacre. This toll is merely the bare minimum, as there are hundreds of violations and killings that we weren’t able to access in light of the extraordinary challenges we are facing.
According to the report, the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance tops all other parties with 94% of all killings that have been perpetrated in Syria. The Syrian regime possesses an air force composing of fixed-wing warplanes and helicopters that are capable of firing missiles and dropping barrel bombs. Aerial bombardment alone has killed 57% at least of the total death toll, while shelling using heavy artillery and tanks killed 13%. The remaining death toll is divided between various kinds of weapons ranging from machine guns, to snipers, to mortar shells, to chemical weapons, to cluster munitions, and then slaughtering using white weapons.
The report notes that the responsibility to protect civilians falls, first and foremost, upon the state and its apparatuses to protect the people. However, when the state apparatuses are merely a tool for violence in the hands of the ruling regime who is killing and destroying the people and the state and continues to do so for days, months, and years with no one to put an end to the crimes, there has to be an international system in place which was one of the main reasons behind the establishing of the norm of the Responsibly to Protect – established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005. The Syrian state has failed to protect the people and, even more, the current regime insists on perpetrating crimes systematically according to the reports of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, which is affiliated to the Human Rights Council.
Thus, the burden, weeks after the popular uprising broke out, had shifted to the international community who must, in accordance with paragraph 139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, takes action collectively through the Security Council in accordance with articles 41 and 42 of the Charter of the United Nations. However, the Security Council stood idly by due to the Russian and Chinese protection for the Syrian regime, sending a message to every state in the world that by only signing a deal with a totalitarian state who is a permanent member of the Security Council, you can enjoy immunity, care, and diplomatic and political support.
The report holds the international council, represented by the Security Council, fully responsible to protect civilians.