Washington, DC – The Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS) expresses its disgust and horror at the targeted killings of both civil defense workers and medical practitioners in regime air strikes around Aleppo. On Monday, regime air strikes targeted the headquarters of the heroic “White Helmets” who have received awards all over the world for their noble work pulling victims from rubble. The strike targeted the White Helmets’ headquarters in Al-Atareb, killing five members of the civil defense team. On Wednesday, more air strikes hit throughout Aleppo, including on a Al Quds hospital where at least 60 people were killed, many of whom were doctors and children.
Nearly as deplorable as the attacks themselves are the statements of response from the U.S. government. While the White House once again expressed “concern,” other government officials including spokesman for the anti-ISIL coalition Col. Steve Warren seeked to justify the attacks, claiming that Aleppo is “primarily Nusra” held. John Kerry later endorsed this justification as well, arguing that the Russian/regime military buildup around Aleppo was meant to “weaken Nusra.” The U.S. government knows very well that the main military force in rebel-held Aleppo is the group Jabhat Shamiya, a coalition that includes U.S.-backed groups and excludes Jabhat Al Nusra. That the U.S. government surely knows this fact, and seeks to justify indiscriminate targeting anyway, is a clear sign that displeasing the Russians at Geneva is a bigger fear than the continued deaths of Syrian civilians—be they heroic humanitarian workers, brave doctors, or innocent children.
“We had hoped that the few remaining months of this administration would not see a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria,” said CDS Board Member, United for a Free Syria Political Director, and Syrian Emergency Task Force Executive Director Mouaz Moustafa. “However, there was never a plan in the event the cessation of hostilities deteriorated, and now the administration seeks to defend a broken peace rather than enforce a real one.”
The Coalition for a Democratic Syria is a group of Syrian-American non-profit organizations working together to bring about a swift end to the conflict and support the establishment of peace, freedom, and democracy in Syria. The CDS is a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional, non-partisan organization. The CDS includes: Syrian Emergency Task Force, United for Free Syria, Syrian American Council, Syrian American Alliance, Syrian Christians for Peace, the Association of Free Syrians, and the American Syriac Union.