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Wednesday 23 December 2015

Putin’s and Assad’s peace moves: bombings of civilians and chemical weapons attacks

On Friday, the UK and allies US and France joined Russia in passing a UN Security Council resolution supporting the Vienna process to bring peace to Syria.

On Sunday, Russia bombed civilian areas in anti-ISIS rebel held territory, killing scores of civilians.

Yesterday, Assad regime forces carried out another chemical weapons attack against civilians in the Damascus suburb of Moadamiyeh.

For years the UK government has followed Obama’s lead in making excuses for not taking effective action to protect civilians. In March they joined Obama’s flawed train-and-equip program that attempted to build a Syrian rebel force to take on ISIS while ignoring the much greater threat to Syrians, the Assad regime. In November, government minister Tobias Ellwood told MPs and peers that a ceasefire was in Russia’s interest. Earlier this month, government minister Philip Hammond dismissed calls for a no-bombing zone by falsely claiming that such a measure would require troops on the ground.

It is long past time for government ministers to recognise the brutal fact that Putin does not face the same constraints or understanding of self interest as democratic politicians do, and that diplomacy alone will not stop Assad’s killing in Syria.

It is also long overdue for British MPs to face up to the consequences of not acting to constrain Assad. The vote against action on Assad’s chemical massacre in 2013 was a disaster for Syrians and for global security, and the current airstrikes against ISIS do nothing to undo the damage of that decision.

Below are videos we have received from yesterday’s chemical weapons attack on Moadamiyeh.

#فيديو يوثق لحظة وصول المصابين جراء استهداف الحي الغربي من #المعضمية بغاز السارين #مستشفى_الغوطة_التخصصي#معضمية_الشام ٢٢/١٢/٢٠١٥
Posted by ‎مستشفى الغوطة التخصصي‎ on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

See also Amnesty’s report today, Syria: Russia’s shameful failure to acknowledge civilian killings.