Reconstruction in conflict
Reem Assil, Tobias Schneider, Fadi Hallisso

On 27th of February 2018, the All-Party Parliamentary Group Friends of Syria held a meeting discussing issues around rebuilding Syria, and possible UK policy options.

Speaking were: Reem Assil, founding member of the Syrian Nonviolence Movement, co-founder and co-manager of the Free Syrian Translators, and chair of the Syrian Platform for Peace; Tobias Schneider, an independent international security analyst and co-author with Faysal Itani of a recent report for the Atlantic Council titled Rebuilding Syria: A Localised Revitalisation Strategy; and Fadi Hallisso, co-founder of the Syrian NGO Basmeh and Zeitooneh, part of We Exist, a civil society umbrella group.

The meeting was chaired by the Rt Hon. Andrew Mitchell MP, Member of Parliament for Sutton Coldfield and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Friends of Syria.

The transcript below has been edited for length and clarity.

These meeting notes are also included in the Summer 2018 issue of Syria Notes, along with other articles on reconstruction issues.

The non-implementation of Security Council Resolution 2401

FROM SYRIA NOTES No. 22, 28 MARCH 2018

The siege of Eastern Ghouta’s civilian population began in 2013 and tightened significantly in 2017, with multiple deaths of malnourished children and deaths of adults and children who were denied medical evacuation by the Assad regime. As the Assad regime’s advance into Idlib halted along Astana-negotiated lines in mid February 2018, the regime redeployed forces to Eastern Ghouta in preparation for a major assault. That assault began with an escalation in air attacks across the besieged communities of Eastern Ghouta, home to some 400,000 civilians.

From 18 February up to 23 March, the Violations Documentation Centre in Syria counted 2,002 confirmed violent deaths, over 90% of them civilians. At least 279 of those killed were children.

• UN Security Council Resolution 2401
On 24 February 2018, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2401 unanimously. Co-sponsored by Kuwait and Sweden, the resolution demanded a 30-day cessation of hostilities across Syria to enable humanitarian relief.

As well as Eastern Ghouta, the resolution applied to the ongoing assault on YPG-controlled Afrin in Syria’s northwest by Syrian rebel forces and Turkish armed forces that had begun in January 2018. Neither of the military campaigns stopped.

• What came after UNSCR 2401 in Eastern Ghouta
In its report on events after Resolution 2401, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) declared it a failure ‘The resolution failed to stop any type of violations, many of which constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes, and even chemical weapons were used.’

SNHR documented attacks on Syria Civil Defence facilities and vehicles, medical facilities, markets—attacks with incendiares, cluster munitions, and chlorine gas—all following the passage of Resolution 2401.

Syria Civil Defence reported 37 people killed in one single attack with incendiaries, mainly women and children, most burned alive, in a shelter in Arbin on the night of 22 March. SNHR put the eventual death toll from that attack at 51 civilians, 20 of them children.

• Chemical attacks
On 7 March, the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) brought reports from doctors inside Ghouta of a chlorine attack in Saqba and Hammouria. Doctors in the area said at least 100 were affected, with victims experiencing symptoms consistent with chlorine gas inhalation.

According to Syrian Archive, earlier attacks were reported on 13 January between Douma and Harasta, 22 January in north-western Douma, 1 February in Douma, and 25 February in al-Shefonia town.

• Only Douma remains
On 27 March, OCHA reported to the Security Council that more than 1,700 people had been killed since Resolution 2401. Assad regime forces have taken most of the territory, forcibly displacing over 80,000 civilians.



Syria Notes No. 22

Syria Notes No. 22: 28 March 2018 – view and download PDF
  • The non-implementation of Security Council Resolution 2401
    Syria Notes summary
  • Russian air force implicated in string of hospital bombings
    The Syrian Archive, Syrians for Truth and Justice, and Bellingcat
  • Aircraft tracking
    Parliamentary Written Questions on tracking, accountability, and early warning
  • Activists and feminists battle, and we all lose
    Zaina Erhaim
  • UN Commission recommends actions on Syria detainees
    Syria Notes summary
  • Coming home to a death in prison
    Syria Notes summary

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