October 31, 2023
In accordance with the principles enshrined in International Humanitarian Law, particularly Articles 48, 51(2), and 52 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, which emphasize the protection of civilians during hostilities in armed conflicts, the Free Syrian Lawyers Association (FSLA) wishes to draw attention to the alarming situation unfolding in Northwest Syria. Over the past two weeks, this region has experienced an escalation in aggression by the Syrian regime and Russian forces. Our documented observations confirm systematic artillery and missile shelling targeting civilian areas and structures, including schools, mosques, markets, and internally displaced persons’ shelters, which we ascertain were not of a military nature or use. These deliberate actions have resulted in a significant number of civilian casualties, extensive damage to infrastructure, destruction of civilian buildings, and the terrorization and displacement of civilian populations.
We express our profound concern over the absence of a collective response from the international community, especially recognized human rights bodies, given the gravity of these events.
The Free Syrian Lawyers Association (FSLA) vehemently condemns these violations. Such actions not only represent serious infringements on human rights but also breaches of International Humanitarian Law and recognized international norms that strictly prohibit targeting non-military zones, terrorizing civilians, and their forced displacement, as part of a systematic policy pursued by the Syrian regime for years, supported by Russian forces. Such acts elevate to war crimes and crimes against humanity under International Criminal Law.
We make a strong appeal to the international community, as signatories to the Geneva Conventions and protectors of human rights. Every state party to these conventions bears the responsibility to prevent, halt, and hold perpetrators accountable for grave human rights abuses. We urge them to take the necessary measures to stop these violations and ensure the safety of civilians. We emphasize that these breaches undermine a political solution and the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 of 2015, furthering the suffering and tragedy of the Syrian people, ongoing for years due to the Syrian regime’s continued human rights violations. The commitment to international and humanitarian laws must remain paramount and be applied impartially.
With sincere appreciation and hope for justice,
Free Syrian Lawyers Association (FSLA).