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Syrian Coalition calls for international investigation into Assad crimes and violations

BEIRUT |, with agencies - April 21, 2016, 08h22

President of the Syrian Coalition Anas al Abdah on Wednesday said that negotiations in Geneva cannot be resumed “while the Assad regime carries on with its crimes against civilians with impunity”.

Abdah defended the High Negotiating Committee’s (HNC) decision to suspend participation in the Geneva negotiations, calling for opening an international investigation into the regime’s crimes and its repeated violations of the truce.

Syrian opposition leaders started leaving Geneva on Tuesday after air strikes on markets in the northwest killed at least 44 people. In some of the deadliest violence since a ceasefire took effect in February, a suspected regime bombing raid on Tuesday hit a market in the city of Maaret al-Numan, killing at least 37 civilians, AFP quoted a monitor as saying.
Footage showed bloodied bodies scattered among twisted metal stalls in a street strewn with fruit and vegetables.

Speaking at a press conference in Istanbul, Anas al Abdah said that the Assad regime has effectively killed the truce by the brutal massacres it committed in Idlib, Aleppo and Rural Damascus on Tuesday.

“Regime forces have committed over 2,200 breaches of the truce since it was declared 53 days ago, all of which were documented and reported to the UN Security Council,” Abdah added.

“International inaction and silence over Assad’s crimes, especially yesterday’s massacres in which 108 civilians were killed, suggest the international community is complicit in these crimes which have not been met with even a verbal condemnation by any state.”

Abdah said that the Syrian Coalition began consultations with representatives of the Friends of the Syrian People group concerning the Geneva talks. “The ball now is in the court of the international community, which has not yet shown it is serious about implementing the UN Security Council resolution 2254.”

“We will not accept any proposals for a solution if they include keeping in power Assad or any of the pillars of his regime who must be tried for war crimes.”

Abdah concluded his remarks by stressing that a political solution needs a suitable environment, adding that there cannot be a return to the talks as long as the Assad regime continues to violate the truce and seeks to thwart all attempts aimed at reaching a solution in Syria.

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