Residents of the towns and villages of northern rural Homs took to the streets on Wednesday night to protest against attempts by Russia and the Assad regime to displace the local population from the area despite being covered by the ‘de-escalation zones’ the agreement.
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa on Wednesday sent a letter to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu calling on Turkey to put pressure on Russia to stop attempts to displace the local population of northern rural Homs and to abide by the ‘de-escalation zones’ agreement.
The biggest demonstrations were held in the towns of Talbeesa, Al-Rastan, Al-Houla, Za’afarana, Al-Sa’in, Al-Hashimiya, and Aldar Al-Qabira. Demonstrators expressed their rejection of the conditions Russia is seeking to impose on residents of the region under which they will have to choose between surrender and leaving their homes or risk losing their lives.
The Free Syrian Army groups operating in northern rural Hama and southern rural Homs on Tuesday rejected a Russian deal over the fate of the region.
The United Nations has previously said that the mass forced displacement of the civilian population in Syria may amount to a war crime.
President Mustafa stressed that “the Assad regime and its Iranian and Russian allies’ systematic destruction of hospitals and infrastructure as well as their targeting of civilians in northern rural Homs constituted a war crime under Articles 6, 7, and 8 of the Rome Statute, Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and article 2 of The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”
“These actions also contravene the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council’s resolutions, particularly resolution 2336 which includes the Ankara ceasefire agreement signed under the auspices of Turkey and Russia on December 30, 2016 as well as all a the relevant resolutions,” President Mustafa stressed.
President Mustafa called for the establishment of “a monitoring and accountability mechanisms in order to ensure the implementation of a comprehensive ceasefire and to prevent any subsequent violations.” He said that Russia stop “attempts to conclude a side agreement in northern rural Homs, and to emphasize commitment to the Astana de-escalation zones agreement which covers northern rural Homs.”