Statement by the civilian block in eastern Ghouta

In response to the fierce campaign launched on eastern Ghouta by the forces of the Assad regime and its allies, Russia and Iran and the sectarian militias which resulted in killing, destruction and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation of the population of East Ghouta. The regime used in this campaign all kinds of weapons including those prohibited internationally such as the chlorine gas, napalm, phosphor and cluster bombs.

This campaign resulted in mass massacres and more than one 1300 victims in 30 days most of them are civilians, including children and women. These acts amount to war crime resulted mainly because of the Russian violation of UNSC resolutions.

We representatives of institutions, CSOs activists, humanitarian workers, local councils’ members, and media activists announce the formation of a civilian block in East Ghouta to represent the civilians and their will and aspirations in the situation of their absented voice about what is taking place in East Ghouta.

This civilian block aims at:

1- Following up the latest developments of the current crisis, to mitigate its ramifications, and to stop bloodshed through the immediate implementation of the relevant international resolutions and to pursue international guarantees through regional and international channels.

2- Supporting the resilience of the population of East Ghouta and the protection of civilians from enforced displacements, demographic changes as well as killing and starvations.

3- Mitigate the ramifications of the humanitarian crisis which came as a result of the last fierce campaign through communicating with all the sectors of the local society, rebels on the ground and the active entities in eastern Ghouta as well as all the states and international fora to cooperate and coordinate to put an end to the crisis imposed on Ghouta and to protect the lives and dignity of the civilians.

Therefore, the civilian block demands the UN, UNSC states members, and the international community for the following:

A- To take the necessary measures for immediate cease-fire, to stop the shelling and storming by pro-Assad military forces of villages and towns of Eastern Ghouta, and for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2401 through immediate, negotiated and peaceful manner, especially after several initiatives were put forward by the people of the eastern Ghouta to expel Jabhat Al Nusra and resume peace talks in Geneva.

B- That the United Nations, Member States of the Security Council, and those able to influence events on the ground, combined or individually, in a practical and public manner – regardless of the various forms of negotiation and possible compromises with field forces – ensure, through a security enforcement field force, the safety and freedom of movement for civilians within Eastern Ghouta, and between Eastern Ghouta and the rest of the Syrian territories, whether or not they are under the control of Assad forces, and that the parties referred to in this paragraph shall ensure the safety of civilians in East Ghouta during these movements and until they reach the places they seek, through safe corridors, with special attention to the situation of women who wish to move.

C- That civilians in Eastern Ghouta – represented by the Provincial Council, Local Councils and civil society organizations – should become a negotiating partner in all negotiations and settlements related to East Ghouta discussed by national, international or local actors, and that they decide their own fate and that they are provided with all the support to do that.

D- That special attention is given to the establishment of special mechanisms to ensure the safety and security of workers in local councils, medical, relief, educational and other civilian institutions, and those required for compulsory military service in the Syrian army, and members of their families inside and outside Eastern Ghouta. This shall be done by practical, public, effective, neutral guarantees able to protect them.

E- To establish a permanent follow-up mechanism for the issue, including representatives of Security Council Member States, states willing to cooperate, the United Nations and representatives of civilians in East Ghouta both inside and outside Syria.

F- That there be sufficient international pressure, by all means, to compel the regime and its allies, especially the Russian Federation, to lift the siege on Eastern Ghouta and open humanitarian crossings, and stop the systematic starvation practiced by the Syrian regime against civilians.

For contact: civilian.ghouta@gmail.com

Representatives of the block in Eastern Ghouta
Akram Tuameh, Vice President of the Interim Government
Nizar AlSamadi, President of the Engineers Syndicate in the Eastern Ghouta
Mustafa Saker, Chairman of the Provincial Council of Damascus countryside
Dr. Diaa Al-Qallesh, Director of the University of Aleppo in Eastern Ghouta
Hani AlHafez, President of Masar Center for Studies

Representatives of the block outside Syria
Eng. Ahmad Taha
Eng. Mutasen Syoufi
Dr. Mohammad Katoub
Dr. Khalil Alasmar
Mr. Alaa Zaza
Mrs. Lubna AlKanawati
Ms. Hanan Halimah

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