Syrian Coalition Criticizes World’s Silence over Regime’s Attempts to Displace Residents of Altal near Damascus

The Syrian Coalition said that the international community’s silence over the terrible daily tragedy in Syria encourages the Assad regime and its allies to go further in the killing and displacement of the Syrian people. The Coalition pointed out that regime plans to storm the town of Altal and empty it of its local population must not be ignored as the Assad regime has already shown it is willing to commit crimes of unimaginable proportions to achieve its plans.

In a press release issued on Friday, the Coalition said that the Assad regime forces have recently escalated artillery and aerial bombardment of the town of Altal in Rural Damascus despite the so-called truce being put in place. The regime’s escalating bombardment, which is being accompanied by attempts to storm the town, came despite the Free Syrian Army groups in the town agreeing to engage in a new round of negotiations with the Assad regime.

The Assad regime has been pursuing a policy of siege, starvation and bombing of residential areas and civilian infrastructure to break the will of the Syrian people and force them to leave their homes. This tactic, which was previously used in Old Homs, Daraya, Moadamiya, Qudsaya and Alhama in Rural Damascus, is now being used in the towns of Altal and Khan Alsheeh in Rural Damascus as well as the district of Alwaer in Homs to force residents of these areas to leave their homes.

Forced displacement and besiegement are war crimes under international law and international humanitarian law.

The Assad regime forces have escalated bombing of the town of Altal and its outskirts over the past two days, targeting the town with barrel bombs and heavy artillery. The regime shelling has resulted in many civilian casualties.

The Coalition stressed that the international community and the UN Security Council are obliged to exercise pressure on the Assad regime and its allies; to warn them there will be consequences for their actions; and force them to respect international resolutions and meet the requirements of a political solution.

The Coalition strongly condemned the latest bombardment of Altal and the siege which has been imposed on the town for over one and a half year. The siege is clearly aimed at forcing residents of the town out of their homes through the use of starvation as a weapon, water and electricity blackouts, and the deployment of checkpoints on the outskirts of the town to terrorize civilians.

The Coalition renewed confidence in and full support for the representatives of the people and the FSA groups in Altal as it warns of the treachery of the Assad regime given its long record of cheating and reneging on all previous so-called truces. The latest onslaught on Altal is also designed to punish its residents for hosting the people who have been displaced from eastern Ghouta, which still shows legendary resistance in the face of the repeated massacres by regime forces.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 25.11.2016)


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