Syrian Women’s Political Movement Statement on the Ongoing Idlib Military Offensive

The Idlib Province, the northern countryside of Hama, and the western countryside of Aleppo are under brutal aggression and attack by all kinds of lethal weapons. The attack has resulted in destroying houses, hospitals, markets, and schools, in addition to scores of civilian casualties, most of whom are children and women. This military campaign has been ongoing for several weeks, although these areas are subject to the de-escalation agreement reached between Russia and Turkey in the Astana track, and was reaffirmed in a memorandum of understanding signed by both states in September 2018. 

This area has become a refuge for nearly four million Syrians, most of whom are women, children, and elderly; over one million of them are internally displaced from other areas in Syria. As a result of this recent military escalation, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced from their homes to areas close to the Turkish borders, staying in the open air, under olive trees, or in camps that lack the most basic elements for dignified living. 

As the military campaign continues, the number of victims and amount of destruction increase. According to the statistics of Syrian organizations documenting the situation, including Syria Civil Defense (The White Helmets), the number of victims reached at least 600, including 80 children, and dozens of civilian facilities including medical centers, schools, bakeries, popular markets, and mosques have been destroyed. Additionally, damages were documented in al-Kabineh area because of the use of chlorine gas. The regime also burnt large fields of crops by incendiary munition. All of the foregoing has led to the displacement of tens of thousands of families and the deprivation of nearly 50,000 children from education and medical care. 

We, in the Syrian Women’s Political Movement, condemn in the strongest terms the massacres perpetrated against Syrians by Iran, Russia, and the Assad regime. We also condemn all forms of foreign intervention and demand the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria, adherence to the cessation of hostilities, respect the territorial unity of Syria and its citizens, and respect Syrians’ aspirations for peaceful change of the criminal regime. We also hold the international community responsible for the catastrophes and massacres Syria and the Syrian people are enduring as a result of turning Syria and Syrians hostages and victims of international conflicts.

We consider terrorist organizations led by outsiders supported by foreign entities have become a pretext for killing Syrians and disregarding their demands for freedom and dignity; though such organizations are few and can be easily eliminated by achieving a just political solution satisfying the demands of the Syrian people. We call on the guarantors, especially Turkey, to bear their responsibility of abiding by the de-escalation agreement and ensure that civilians are safe during any military operations. 

We call upon the UN, the Security Council, and the governments and peoples of the international community to act immediately to end this brutal campaign and activate the political process that shall lead to a comprehensive political solution in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué and UNSCR 2254. We also call upon them to: foil the repetitive attempts by the Assad regime and Russia to circumvent these resolutions; seek resumption of negotiations in Geneva under the auspices of the UN to solve all issues; create a new atmosphere of security, peace, and stability; remove all the perpetrators; put an end to all massacres; and create the conditions that allow Syrian women and men to return to their towns and homes, to start reconstructing Syria and building peace and security.

May our detainees and the forcibly disappeared be free; our fallen heroes rest in peace; and may our great people emerge victorious

General Secretariat of Syrian Women’s Political Movement 

Saturday, 1 June 2019