Russia has not and will not uphold its agreement to protect civilians in conflict, and the country remains unsafe for refugees to return.
July 13, 2021
“The meeting of Turkey, Russia, and Iran in Kazakhstan excludes the vital voices of free Syrians”
WASHINGTON D.C., July 10, 2021 – Today, a coalition of Syrian American organizations denounced the last round of Astana talks in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan as the latest in a series of sham discussions that exclude the most important voices- the voices of free Syrians striving for democracy, human rights, and accountability. The previous fifteen rounds of the Astana talks did nothing but allow Russia and Iran, who have committed heinous crimes against humanity, to tighten their control over the Syrians they tormented and displaced. The parties who helped Assad brutally destroy Syria will never be the parties to effectively bring peace and a political transition to the country.
During the Astana process, which was supposed to ensure that the Syrian conflict was resolved politically rather than militarily, the undersigned organizations witnessed the Syrian regime, Russia, and Iran lead the destruction of Ghouta, the besiegement of Daraa, and forced an increasing number of Syrians to flee their houses in Idlib to camps on the Turkish-Syrian border. The talks did nothing but buy time for more crimes against the Syrian people, and allow Russia and Iran to tighten control over the country. Russia and Iran have shown that they are not negotiating in good faith and all free Syrian parties must immediately cease any negotiations with them until effective and verifiable measures to lift the siege against Daraa, to allow humanitarian aid to reach Idlib, to release all political prisoners, and to disclose the fate of all missing Syrians are implemented.
Russia has not and will not uphold its agreement to protect civilians in conflict, and the country remains unsafe for refugees to return. In both the Astana process and the Geneva process, there have been empty words without real action from the United States, United Nations, and the international community. The only way forward is by incorporating the voices of free Syrians in decision and policy-making processes.
The international community and the United States must uphold their promise to prevent and bring accountability to the perpetrators of war crimes in Syria by immediately implementing United Nations Security Resolution 2254 and pursuing justice and accountability measures that hold Assad and his backers responsible for his chemical weapons use and human rights violations.
Organizations signing on to this statement include:
Americans for a Free Syria
Civilian Council for American Security
Free Syria PAC
Kayla’s List PAC
Representative of the Syrian Opposition Coalition to the United States-Qutaiba Idlbi Syrian American Council
Syrian Christians for Peace USA
Syrian Emergency Task Force
Syrian Institute for Progress