Posted 2016-04-29

Cessation of hostilities is collapsing : UN Envoy calls for ISSG ministerial meeting



#SaveAleppo Critical situation in Aleppo - Aistrike on hospital


AFP 551378294 I WAR SYR(Photo: AMEER ALHALBI, AFP/Getty Images)


USA Today: At least 27 killed in airstrike on #Syria hospital | feat. @Charles_Lister




Statement by Secretary @JohnKerry on the attack on al-Quds Hospital in Aleppo,


Outraged by yesterday’s airstrikes in Aleppo on the al-Quds hospital; @UN today assessed the situation in Aleppo to be catastrophic




#Syrie : "Je condamne avec la plus grande fermeté le bombardement contre l’hôpital al-Quds à Alep" @jeanmarcayrault


#Syrie : Nous condamnons vivement la recrudescence des violences dans la province d’Alep



Aleppo's Al-Quds hospital, bombed tonight. Steep surge in fighting this week, leaving civilians trapped & terrified


RT by @LizSly

#BREAKING: Air strike hits local clinic in al-Marja, Aleppo, which provided dental services & treatment for chronic illnesses. - via @AFP



Tweeter users change their avatar to solid red for solidarity to Aleppo #SaveAleppo


(tweet includes photo above)



Battle Dynamics at Aleppo


(Russia envoy to the UN cited below)

#Borodavkin:Jayish al-Islam & Ahrah al-Sham groups have not formally joined the Syrian truce



"We hear statements from these groups that they have allegedly joined the cessation of hostilities," he said. "However, we have no official confirmation of this."


The diplomat noted that "at the same time, the leaders of these groups from time to time say publicly that, firstly, they are fighting shoulder to shoulder with Jabhat al-Nusra. Secondly, we have been hearing statements from them recently that the cessation of hostilities regime is ‘dead’ and that all jihadists need to join forces in the fight against government troops."



Article by Washington Post (Retweeted by @Charles_Lister)


Aleppo Nusra & rebel fighters “not geographically distinct or delineated"


"In many locations, particularly around Aleppo, Nusra and opposition fighters “are not geographically distinct or delineated on the battlefield. It’s not possible to physically disaggregate them,” said Chris Kozak, who monitors their movements at the ­Washington-based Institute for the Study of War. Sometimes they fight together; other times they fight against each other.


Russia and Assad “paint with a very broad brush,” Kozak said. “If a group is working tactically with Jabhat al-Nusra, or is co-located with them, then that group is Jabhat al-Nusra.” For its part, he said, “Nusra wants the cease-fire to collapse. . . . They pitch the case to other groups that the regime is still shelling and striking them and violating the cease-fire all over” and then offer to help them retaliate."


(...) modified (MT)

(...) Kozak-"Aleppo Warning Update: April 28, 2016." Encirclement/siege is




Complex dynamics of who does what not investigated by CoH Task Force

Excerpt from same Article by Washington Post:

"The dynamic has differed from place to place but overall has left a complex battlefield with myriad combinations of tangled forces, tactical alliances, and significant room for disagreement among Russia, the United States and others that say they are trying to follow the cease-fire rules. A U.S.-Russia task force set up to adjudicate claims of violations has been virtually silent as fighting has escalated after initial weeks of relative quiet."



UN Envoy urges Russia and US to save the CoH, the "miracle" achieved


With Syrian truce ‘barely alive,’ @UN envoy urges Russia and US to help revitalize talks




“The Russian Federation and the US, as you remember, had a very strong initiative, which produced basically a miracle, because on 27 February, suddenly within hours, we had a dramatic collapse not of the cessation of hostilities but of the hostilities. And that produced a great feeling among everyone that in fact the political discussions and everything else had and should have a chance,” he said.

“We need that to be urgently revitalized,” he continued. “And […] the Russian Federation and the US, as they did when they launched suddenly everything related to the cessation of hostilities, need to come back again and relaunch it.”

In that vein, he appealed for an “urgent initiative” at the highest levels for the next round of talks.



Cessation of hostilities needs reinforcement before next round of #SyriaTalks resumes; @UN Envoy calls for ISSG ministerial meeting


Derrière les rideaux, Russes et Américains continuent de collaborer… via @letemps







2015-08-17: Statements on the Market Bombing in Douma, Syria 


UN #Syria Envoy Staffan de Mistura expresses "utmost condemnation" of air raids on a market place in Duma -


(Arab League Secretariat)

lassecgen's avatar

#سوريا:ادان د.نبيل العربي بشدة استمرار القصف العشوائي الذي يتعرّض له المدنيون في مدينة دوما السورية


#سوريا: Dr. Nabil Elaraby condemned strongly the continued indiscriminate bombing of civilians in the Syrian city of Dumas




Joint Statement of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and US on Syria and Libya attacks:

 La France à l'ONU retweeted

#Libye #Syrte — la déclaration conjointe de la France, de l’Allemagne, de l’Espagne, des USA, de l’Italie et du R-U : 




US condemns in strongest possible terms the Assad regime’s deadly airstrikes yesterday on a market in #Douma, #Syria.



Department of State retweeted

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on the Market Bombing in #Douma, #Syria


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The U.S. condemns in the strongest terms the Asad regime’s deadly airstrikes yesterday on a market in the #Damascus suburb of #Douma. #Syria

بيان من المتحدث الرسمي بإسم مجلس الأمن القومي نيد برايس بشأن القصف الذي أستهدف سوق في ضاحية #دوما بـ #سوريا





Violence continues to escalate in #Syria @FedericaMog & @StylianidesEU on the latest indiscriminate terrorist attacks!Jp68nu


Joint statement with @FedericaMog on indiscriminate attacks on civilians in #Syria Respect for Intl Humanitarian Law…


#Syria — We condemn the bombing by the Damascus regime of the main market in #Douma: 

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UKUN_NewYork retweeted

Disgusted by #Assad air strikes on #Douma. 100+ killed, 100s wounded in #Syria. Call on those backing Assad to stop him targeting civilians

Syrian Coalition retweeted

Germany condemns air raid on a market place in a suburb of #Damascus in the sharpest possible terms. #Douma #Syria #SyriaCrisis





2015-08-17: Syrian coalition refers to precedent of UN/NATO no-fly zones established following the Sarajevo marketplace bombing


The Press release citing “the tragic bombing of the marketplace in Sarajevo during the Bosnian civil war” mentions:


“Both incidents left hundreds of innocent civilians dead. Whereas the incident in Sarajevo received universal international condemnation and led to public calls by human rights and humanitarian NGOs on the need for a no-fly zone to protect Bosnian civilians, the international community has by enlarge remained silent on Douma massacre.”



Information from Wikipedia


Cf. at this Wikipedia Link NATO operations Operation Sky Monitor and Operation Deny Flight that were launched following UN resolutions.


"On 9 October 1992, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 781, prohibiting unauthorized military flights in Bosnian airspace. This resolution led to Operation Sky Monitor, where NATO monitored violations of the no-fly zone, but it did not take action against violators of the resolution. On 31 March 1993, in response to 500 documented violations, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 816 which authorized states to use measures "to ensure compliance" with the no-fly zone over Bosnia. In response, on 12 April, NATO initiated Operation Deny Flight which was tasked with enforcing the no-fly zone and allowed to engage the violators of the no-fly zone."



2015-08-16: One of the worst single day attacks since the beginning of the Syrian conflict occurred on 2015-08-16, as Syrian air force struck crowded market at Damascus suburb, Douma



“The targeted market in central Douma is known for receiving hundreds of people everyday, and the moment that the pro-Assad warplanes chose for conducting the strikes was the most crowded one,” civil rights activist Adel Zarqa told ARA News in Douma.


“They aimed to kill as many people as possible at once, and they unfortunately succeeded,” he added. 

Photo: Firas Abdullah






2015-08-13: U.S. "Statement on Syrian Regime's Ongoing Use of Barrel Bombs in Civilian Areas"


The U.S. strongly condemns the Asad regime’s intensified bombing of civilians& civilian infrastructure across #Syria. 


Since 1st week of July, the regime has dropped over 2K barrelbombs throughout #Syria, with high concentrations in #Darayya and #Zabadani.


Regime bombs have killed hundreds of people and destroyed schools, mosques, markets, hospitals, and ambulances across the country. #Syria


The regime’s use of barrel bombs is widely & vigilantly documented by independent sources & in open source media.


Asad continues to lie blatantly to the media, feigning ignorance about his forces’ use of what appears to have become their weapon of choice



US Policy on Syria

Department of State retweeted  2015-08-10

The US supports the Syrian people’s aspirations for a democratic, inclusive, & unified #Syria:


1. Diplomatic Support

2. Humanitarian Assistance

3. Non-lethal Transition Assistance to the Syrian Opposition

4. Department of Defense Train and Equip Program

5. Additional Support for the Syrian People




Migratory flux from Syria intensifies due to barrel bombs

As it becomes difficult to hold on to territory, war crime strategies are used to put pressure on population so that it does not oppose the regime


Kenneth Roth‏@KenRoth (about one week ago)

#Assad now holds mere 1/6 of Syrian territory. He barrel-bombs civilians in the non-ISIS rest.

Source: The Economist


2015-08-07 UNHCR: Number of refugees and migrants arriving in Greece soars 750 per cent over 2014


GENEVA, Aug 7 (UNHCR) – Some 124,000 refugees and migrants had arrived in Greece by sea at the end of July this year – a staggering 750 per cent increase on the same period in 2014, the UN refugee agency detailed on Friday.


"While Syrians make up 63 per cent of all arrivals since the beginning of the year, the percentage of Syrian arrivals increased in July to 70 per cent."


Staggering 750% increase in refugees & migrants arriving in #Greece compared to 2014.  #Europe



Barrel bombing aiming in destroying hospitals


Dr. Annie Sparrow @annie_sparrow 2015-08-08

Here's what it looks like after Assad hit 5 hospitals in Idleb yesterday--attacking doctors/patients instead of ISIS.

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2015-08-07: "Iran Offers To Mediate Syrian Conflict, Present UN Peace Plan"

via RFE/RL

[tweeted by Kenneth Roth]


via TheDailyStarLebanon

"Iran to submit Syria peace plan to UN"


On barrel bombs, the war crime that also leads to the increasing number of Syrian refugees


2015-08-06: On the U.S. approach on the barrel bombs issue

[link tweeted by Kenneth Roth]

US State Department, Daily Press Briefing by Mark C. Toner, Deputy Spokesperson
Washington, DC August 5, 2015



QUESTION: -- but the argument is here that U.S. can impose or can use its leverage against the regime to stop these bombs by warning or using deterrence. Do you think that U.S. can do this?


MR TONER: Well, I think we’ve been – as we were with – clearly in addressing the threat of chemical weapons, we’ve been attempting to clearly convey and even curb the Assad regime’s use of these kinds of offensive weaponry that, frankly, just kill innocent civilians and bring untold horror into the – their daily lives. We continue to be concerned about it. We’re looking at ways to address it. I don’t want – again, don’t want to get out ahead of any decisions that haven’t been made yet, but it’s of great concern to us.



A wonderful thank you from Aleppo children for my oped on the need to end Assad's barrel bombs 

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2015-08-06: (via NYT) "U.S. and Russia to Back U.N. Resolution to Identify Who Used Chemical Weapons in Syria"

(tweeted by Kenneth Roth)



2015-08-05: K. Roth's appeal published at the NYT on the war crime of barrel bombs

Kenneth Roth is Human Rights Watch Executive Director 


Kenneth Roth @KenRoth 5 Aug 2015 

Barrel bombs, not ISIS, are the greatest killers of Syrian civilians. My appeal to stop them:


Kenneth Roth @KenRoth 5 Aug 2015 

Assad's use of barrel bombs means no opposition area safe, contributing to 4M Syrian refugees.



The Syrian military has dropped barrel bombs, sometimes dozens in one day, on opposition-held neighborhoods in Aleppo, Idlib, Dara’a and other cities and towns. They have pulverized markets, schools, hospitals and countless residences. Syrians have described to me the sheer terror of waiting the 30 seconds or so for the barrel bomb to tumble to earth from a helicopter hovering overhead, not knowing until near the very end where its deadly point of impact will be.


From the start of the war, the Assad government has pursued a murderous policy toward Syrian citizens who happen to live in areas that have been seized by opposition armed groups. The apparent aim is to kill and terrorize civilians (and destroy civilian structures) so as to drive civilians from opposition-held areas and to send a warning of the misery that attends anyone whose neighborhood is taken by opposition groups. 


Beyond killing civilians, barrel bombs are playing a big part in forcing Syrians from their country. In most wars, civilians can find a modicum of safety by moving away from the front lines. But Mr. Assad’s indiscriminate use of barrel bombs deep in opposition-held territory means that for many there is no safe place to hide. That ugly reality has played a major part in persuading four million people to flee the country.




.@JohnKerry met in #Doha today with Russian FM Lavrov and Saudi FM Adel Al-Jubeir to discuss the ongoing conflict in #Syria.


 (1/2) All three leaders acknowledged the need for a meaningful political transition to


(2/2) enable a unified fight against #ISIL & other extremist groups, to include the important role played by opposition groups. #Syria



.@JohnKerry and #Qatar FM Khalid Bin Mohammed al-Attiyah spoke to press earlier today in Doha: 

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"We also discussed the crisis in Syria. The policy of the United States in Syria is very clear – and I think many of you know I will be shortly be having a meeting, a first trilateral meeting between Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Russia. The policy of the United States with respect to Syria is clear. We believe that Assad and the Assad regime long ago lost legitimacy, in part because of his regime’s continued brutality against the Syrian people themselves. And that has been a magnet for foreign fighters, drawing them to Syria, fueling the rise of Daesh and other violent extremist groups. And since there is no military solution to Syria’s challenges, there has to obviously be a political solution. We continue to support the moderate Syrian opposition, along with our GCC partners and other global coalition partners, and we will remain relentless in our mission to eliminate the safe haven that Daesh has found within Syria."


USAID has given over $1.2 billion to @WFP for Syrian operations, including over $530M inside #Syria & over $693M for Syrian refugees.


.@USAID Provides Additional $65 million for Critical Food Assistance to Syrians. #Syria



This contribution will help keep @WFP programs operating through November and avert an imminent shutdown. #Syria




July 2015 "Most intense bombardement since the beginning of the Syrian war" plus intense barrel bombing


 Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth 2015-08-02

July was a bad month for Syrian civilians enduring Assad's barrel bombs. Will anyone stop him? 











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This is Farmix, Deir Ezzor's last functioning hospital. Assad hit it today with four missiles. His war-crime strategy

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 Dr. Annie Sparrow retweeted

Assad retaliates against civilian hospitals and medical staff as opposition forces gain ground in Idlib




Captured #Assad air force colonel says regime is suffering a serious shortage of helicopters 



"He added that the airstrikes are carried out from an altitude of 5,000 m to avoid short-range air defences and that helicopter crews use iPad applications to calculate wind speed, aircraft speed, and their distance from the target to ensure accurate bombing results.


The barrel bombs are produced in 200 kg, 500 kg, and 1,000 kg sizes at workshops that have been set up for the purpose at various Syrian airbases, Col Aboud said.


The captive pilot admitted that the Syrian regime allowed the use of barrels containing chlorine when bombing areas that are completely controlled by opposition groups, but he denied he had carried out such missions, saying his helicopter was not suitable. However, he added that some crews dropped chorine bombs without knowing their contents."




Is Assad's talk of manpower shortage a prelude to abandon 100K+ under ISIS siege in Der Ezzor?


'Resist and win'

The Syrian leader said the army did not have the manpower to defend the entire country, especially as rebel groups were receiving increased support from outside - a reference to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.


"Sometimes, in some circumstances, we are forced to give up areas to move those forces to the areas that we want to hold onto," Mr Assad said in a televised speech to dignitaries in Damascus.


"We must define the important regions that the armed forces hold onto so it doesn't allow the collapse of the rest of the areas."


However, Mr Assad pledged to fight on and ruled out the prospect of any negotiated settlement at the moment.

"The word defeat does not exist in the Syrian army's dictionary," he said, adding that "collapse" was not on the cards.

"We will resist and we will win."


Source: BBC Link


 Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth 2015-08-03

Deir Ezzor civilians suffer under siege imposed by ISIS and aided by Syrian government. 



Syria safe zones:

1. Addressing the war crime of barrel bombs (which indirectly encourages Syrian victims to join ISIS)

2. Containing ISIS
3. Refugee return

4. Train local forces


"May 2015 the worst month yet for attacks on medical facilities in Syria"





Syrian Coalition UN ‏@SyriaUN Jun 23

"May 2015 the worst month yet for attacks on medical facilities in #Syria, reports @P4HR"







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"Every barrel bomb dropped by Assad onto residential areas is a victory for" ISIS recruitment. 

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"Reports of an American and Turkish agreement to close a sixty mile stretch of the Syria-Turkey border to the Islamic State (ISIL or ISIS) and to create—to an as yet undisclosed depth—a protected “safe zone” from the border south into Aleppo Province (...)"


"news of a “safe zone” north of Aleppo is positive, as it would complete the exclusion of ISIL forces from the Syria-Turkey border."


"If a broader aerial exclusion zone eliminates or complicates the ability of the Assad regime to drop barrel bombs on civilian residential areas outside of the “safe zone,” lives will be saved and ISIL will be deprived of a major recruiting asset."


"it might be large enough to accommodate the return of a modest number of Syrian refugees from Turkey"


"It might also be large enough to facilitate some aspects of the “train-and-equip” program designed to raise from Syrian rebels an anti-ISIL ground combat component"



Kenneth Roth @KenRoth
Executive Director, Human Rights Watch 
New York



(...) since the Syrian government turned over its chemical weapons, its most notorious weapon has been the barrel bomb—an oil drum or similar container filled with high explosives and metal fragments. The air force typically drops these bombs from a helicopter hovering at high altitudes to avoid anti-aircraft fire. From that height, they are impossible to target with any precision. Barrel bombs simply tumble to earth, killing far more Syrian civilians than IS.
Barrel bombs are so inaccurate that the Syrian military does not dare use them near the front lines, for fear of hitting its own troops. Rather, it drops them on areas held by rebel groups, knowing that they will destroy apartment buildings, hospitals, schools and other institutions of civilian life. In Aleppo, some civilians who have not fled the country have moved their families nearer the front line, preferring snipers and artillery to the horror of the barrel bombs.
(...) because of their inaccuracy, barrel bombs have little if any military significance. They have been used almost exclusively for killing civilians. Ending their use is unlikely to have an appreciable effect on the balance of power between the Syrian government, the rebels and IS.



Photo from AP Images





After Syria's deadliest month yet, 71 governments press UN Security Council to stop the barrel bombing of civilians. …

Luxembourg ONU @LuxembourgUN
Joint letter to President of #UNSC on behalf of 71 Member States to prevent use of barrel bombs in #Syria – full text 

Syria continues to attack " where civilians are likely to congregate...bus stations, marketplaces & bakeries”--UN.


Testifying today @HouseForeign Affairs Committee I'll seek serious US pressure to stop Assad bombing kids w/ chlorine


Here's my US Congressional testimony detailing Assad's chlorine & barrel-bomb attacks and seeking action to end them.




From @KenanRahmani -- pictures of Tarik al-Sad, Daraa, after Assad's helicopters dropped a

a 'dumpster bomb' yesterday. 



'dumpster bomb' yesterday.

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Kansafra Hospital in Idleb (green) surrounded by the devastation of Assad's barrel bombs (the numbers). As of July 1,


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4:43 PM - 3 Jul 2015 · Details

Assad targeted Kansafra hospital in Idleb 23 times. The 24th--today--destroyed it. Hama Alshrea clinic also destroyed. Hama Alshrea clinic also destroyed

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Note how Assad's chlorine bomb attacks are nowhere near the front lines? They're 'just' used to attack civilians. 


Note how Assad's chlorine bomb attacks are nowhere near the front lines? They're 'just' used to attack civilians.

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#Syria #SNHR: gov aviation dropped a barrel bomb on an electricity station in Aleppo turning it out of service,Jun 30

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4:06 PM - 1 Jul 2015 · Details

May 2015 the worst month yet for attacks on medical facilities in #Syria, reports @P4HR

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7:53 PM - 23 Jun 2015 · Details

Why does Assad barrel-bomb a mosque, killing 10? So even praying isn't safe in rebel areas?

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Seemingly no end to the world's tolerance of Assad's "daily barrel bombing" of Aleppo.


Asad regime barrel bombs Al Bayan hospital in #Aleppo, kills 5 nurses + injures 1 doctor. #SummerInSyria #Syria

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Asad regime barrel bombed this field hospital in Al Basheeriyeh on June 16. #SummerInSyria

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10 barrel bombs destroy Busra Hospital, only health facility 4 neonatal + dialysis in #Dara’a. #SummerInSyria #Syria

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4 hospitals targeted today by Assad forces. Kafar Zieta ER finally destroyed, anesthetist Abdul Nayaf killed & 1 more



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