|Washington, DC - The Syrian American Council, America's largest and oldest grassroots Syrian American group, condemns the Assad regime's latest attack on a packed open-air market that murdered 65 civilians and wounded over 250 innocents this past Friday. The attack deliberately targeted civilians and included a barrage of airstrikes, mortars and artillery fire on the packed marketplace. It was only the latest regime massacre to take place in the Damascus suburb of Douma, which has suffered from siege, bombardments, and chemical attacks for the past four years.
The Syrian American Council is also aware that in response to the attacks, and in a claimed effort to deter future attacks, the rebel group Jaish al-Islam in Douma has placed long-detained regime officers and their families inside cages in civilian areas. While SAC feels deep solidarity with Douma residents and is appalled by global inaction to protect them, we can not condone the mistreatment of rebel-held captives, including women, in this way.
Therefore, SAC also condemns the decision of Jaish al-Islam to place pro-regime captives in cages and to expose them to regime bombardments. Regardless of the myriad war crimes perpetrated by the regime, we can not afford to replicate the regime's heinous tactics against innocents. Furthermore, rebels in Douma were previously rebuffed when they attempted to exchange these prisoners for regime-held detainees, so this new and morally dubious tactic is unlikely to deter bombardments.
The principles of our revolution for human rights and dignity demand a consistent stand for justice against all who violate the rights of any Syrian citizen. Nothing can excuse the regime's vicious attacks on civilians for demanding their freedom and dignity; nor can there be any justification for rebel abuses on civilians that echo the regime's heinousness.