Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Syria’s Forgotten Cities


Syria’s Forgotten Cities is a campaign by the Syria Solidarity Movement UK. From their website:

For the past two months international attention has been focused on the heroic battle going on in Kobane in northern Syria, where the forces of the Kurdish People’s Protection Brigades (YPG) and the Free Syrian Army have successfully withstood an onslaught by the brutal ISIS organisation.

But Syria is a country with many Kobanes, as blogger Leilashrooms has pointed out. Across its length and breadth cities, towns and villages are fighting for their lives – against ISIS, against the equally brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad, and in some cases against both at the same time.

The Syria Solidarity Movement UK has launched a campaign under the banner of “Syria’s Forgotten Cities” to inform people of the realities of these ongoing struggles and to encourage support for their cause.

This site is part of that campaign. Here we will tell you the stories of three Syrian cities involved in these struggles – ALEPPO, HOMS, and RAQQA (the city which ISIS has declared its “capital” but where resistance to its repressive rule goes on). Just follow the links at the top of this page.

But there is a much longer roll of honour – Daraa, Daraya, Deir Ez-Zour, Douma, Hama, Jobar, Idlib, Yarmouk, Zamalka (to name a few) – places battered but not beaten, and where the fight for freedom and dignity goes on.

Let us remember all those “forgotten cities” in the coming weeks and do whatever we can to support their struggles.

You can also follow Syria’s Forgotten Cities on Facebook and on Twitter.

The photo used above is The Ancient Souq Market in Homs, 3 January 2014, by Lens Young Homsi.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Italy must not block EU sanctions on aviation fuel sales to Syria

The Italian government is reportedly blocking proposed EU sanctions against aviation fuel sales to the Syrian regime. A vote is expected on Monday. The Syria Campaign has an urgent action page with a form to email Italy's Foreign Minister.


UPDATE Monday 20 October – the measure has been passed.

EU governments agree to ban jet fuel exports to Syria, Reuters 20 October 2014.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Justice with her axe



For the John Dog song sheet project.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Over 13,000 killed by air attacks

Cross-posted from NFZSyria.org.

Over 13,000 civilians have been killed by air attacks since 2011.
No more excuses.
Syria needs a No-Fly Zone.

Source: VDC Syria database.

READ MORE

More school doodles



Some more drawings for Peggy’s school, continued from here.

Friday, 3 October 2014

No more excuses

Cross posted from NFZSyria.org.



The Violations Documentation Center in Syria now lists over 50 individual civilians killed by Assad air attacks since the US-led Coalition began operations in Syria.

Regime attacks seemed at first to be dropping, but Reuters now report an increase as Assad forces adapt to the new circumstances.

Allowing Assad to carry on bombing civilians at the very same time as the US-led Coalition is militarily active in Syria is untenable.

No more excuses.
Stop the barrel bombs.
Syria needs a No-Fly Zone.

REFERENCES

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Seven months on: Enforce UNSCR 2139

Cross-posted from NFZSyria.org.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139, adopted on 22 February this year, included a demand for an end to indiscriminate shelling and aerial bombardment of populated areas, particularly the use of barrel bombs.

Since that demand was made, over 4,400 civilians have been killed by Assad’s air force. Despite the US-led intervention in Syria, Assad’s helicopters are still dropping barrel bombs. Yesterday, Monday 29 September, saw reports of government helicopters attacking Khan AsalHriytan, and Qarah in Aleppo province, dropping barrel bombs on Bait Jin and other locations in Damascus suburbs, and on Inkhel in Daraa, and on Kafr-Zeita, and so on and on. More reports are coming in of fatal barrel bomb attacks today.

The US-led Coalition strikes against ISIS/ISIL/IS and others in Syria have added 27 civilians killed to the toll. What they haven’t done is acted to stop regime attacks on civilians.

Stopping air attacks on residential areas would be a relatively straightforward task for Security Council members. President Obama has been quoted by the New York Times as saying it would be easier to “wipe out” Syrian air defences than hit ISIS, the current target of US action in Syria.

UNSC Resolution 2139 requested the UN Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the implementation of the resolution in 30 days of its adoption, and every 30 days thereafter, and expressed the Security Council’s intent to take further steps in the case of non-compliance.

Since then, the Secretary-General has as requested provided the Security Council with seven detailed reports . The latest report, dated 24 September, included the following:
Air strikes, shelling and indiscriminate barrel bomb attacks by government forces continued on opposition-held areas, notably in Aleppo and Damascus governorates, resulting in a high number of civilian casualties. In Aleppo, government forces reportedly continued their campaign of barrel bomb attacks, which has been ongoing since mid-December 2013. OHCHR received reports that at least 55 civilians, including 17 children and 7 women, were killed as a result of such attacks between 19 August and 3 September. In Damascus governorate, government forces reportedly intensified attacks against the opposition-held areas of Joubar and several locations in eastern Ghouta. Reports indicate that Joubar was subjected to dozens of air raids and heavy shelling on 2 and 3 September, resulting in the death of at least 10 civilians, while aerial bombardment by government forces reportedly killed at least 120 people and injured hundreds of people in Douma (eastern Ghouta).

Dar`a, Hama and Idlib governorates have also been severely affected by indiscriminate attacks by government forces. For example, in Dar`a governorate, an analysis by the Operational Satellite Applications Programme of satellite imagery collected on 5 September indicated ongoing bombardment of the city of Dar`a, most likely, in some instances, by barrel bombs. Possible damage is visible elsewhere in the city and is likely the result of conventional artillery, light air-dropped munitions or other causes. According to information gathered by OHCHR, on 30 August 2014, missile attacks by government forces on the city of Saraqib (Idlib), reportedly led to the death of at least 15 people, including 8 children and 4 women. Another reported missile attack by government forces, on 3 September, in the town of Naqir (Idlib), led to the death of five civilians. In Hama, 16 civilians were reportedly killed by shelling in Tal Khaznah

The Security Council’s failure to take any further steps to stop air attacks on civilians is an abdication of its responsibility.

The US-led coalition’s ongoing failure to act against the Assad air force’s ongoing massacre of civilians is a betrayal of humanity.

Ground Assad’s air force. Stop the barrel bombs. Enforce UNSCR 2139.



History doodles


I recently drew a set of pictures for Peggy’s school to illustrate their curriculum. Here’s a selection of the history doodles, with a little prehistory too.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

On tomorrow’s debate in the House of Commons

Tomorrow will see a debate in the British Parliament on whether the UK should join military action in Iraq against ISIS (Islamic State / ISIS / ISIL / DAESH) in response to a request from the Iraqi Government.

Yes, British parliamentarians should support military action in this case, but their focus should be firmly on the protection of civilians. This means not just acting to stop IS atrocities, but also demanding of Britain’s ally, the Iraqi Government, that Iraq’s military takes proper steps to protect civilians, and that sectarian militias currently fighting alongside Iraq’s army be replaced with non-sectarian professional military forces as quickly as possible.

Related reading:
Syria is not the topic of tomorrow’s debate, but Syria is where IS has its main bases, and Iraq has also called for the international community to help defend them by striking IS in Syria. Just as Iraq is entitled to call on allies to defend it on its own territory, it is equally entitled under the UN Charter’s Article 51 to call for help to defend itself against the threat from Syrian territory, including by strikes within Syrian territory.

If the UK Parliament comes to debate action in Syria in the near future, the focus there should also be on protecting civilians. That would require tackling Assad’s terror as well as IS.

Cross-posted from NFZSyria.org.