The following statement was released by the governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America to mark the 13th anniversary of the Syrian uprising.

Starting text:

On this day 13 years ago, the Syrian people peacefully took to the streets to demand their freedom and respect for human rights. The Assad regime met these protests with a ruthless campaign of repression and atrocities that continues to this day. Since March 2011, the Syrian conflict has resulted in the deaths of more than 500,000 people and the displacement of more than half of the Syrian population. The coordinated efforts of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and Germany are focused on ending the suffering of the Syrian people. We continue to push for accountability and justice and call for the release of arbitrarily detained civilians. We welcome and support the work of organizations such as the Commission of Inquiry and the International Independent and Impartial Mechanism documenting the crimes committed in Syria, as well as the newly established United Nations Independent Institution for Missing Persons in Syria.

The war in Syria is not over yet. Over the past year, the suffering of ordinary Syrians has continued, whether at the hands of the Assad regime, its allies or Daesh terrorists. Since October, the Assad regime has stepped up its ruthless bombing campaign, which has also impacted civilians living outside areas under its control. With support from Russia, the Assad regime carried out attacks across northwest Syria, killing over 500 civilians and displacing over 120,000 people. We demand an immediate end to these attacks. There was a further escalation of violence in northeast Syria. These include attacks by Daesh, whose past atrocities must not be forgotten. In this context, we thank the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Investigation and Identification Team for their recent report concluding that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Daesh used sulfur mustard in attacks in Marea in 2015 has used. Preventing the resurgence of Daesh remains a top priority. We call on the international community to commit to the remaining tasks to ensure lasting solutions for the residents of al-Hol and Roj camps and for the issue of Daesh detainees.

The devastating effects of the February 2023 earthquakes are still being felt today. In 2024, the number of Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance across Syria reached 16.7 million. In the North West, the unhindered and predictable delivery of humanitarian assistance, including cross-border humanitarian assistance, is critical to ensuring civilians have access to adequate support. Donors and international partners are calling for greater predictability in planning and procurement, and we call on the Assad regime to allow unlimited access to border crossings as long as the need exists to ensure a sustained and reliable response.

We are increasingly concerned about the threats posed by the illegal drug trafficking trade, through which the Assad regime, with the support of Iran-aligned militia groups and other actors, makes huge profits to finance its repression of the Syrian people. Global coordination is required to combat Captagon’s damaging effects, which are contributing to instability across the region. We call on the Assad regime to end its role in this trade and take meaningful steps to curb others’ drug trafficking in Syria.

We remain committed to ending the human rights violations and abuses suffered by the Syrian people at the hands of the Assad regime. The peaceful demonstrations in Suweida that have been ongoing since last summer show that the demands for peace, freedom and dignity that led to protests 13 years ago remain.

Our countries see no possibility of normalization with the Assad regime, no funding for reconstruction and no lifting of sanctions until there is authentic, meaningful and lasting progress towards a political solution. A Syrian-owned and Syrian-led political solution in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 is the only viable mechanism that can bring lasting peace to the Syrian people. The conditions for a safe, dignified and voluntary return of refugees to Syria, supported by the international community, are not yet met and we call on the Assad regime to implement the necessary reforms to ensure the freedom, dignity and human rights of all protect. We welcome the announcement by UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen to convene a meeting of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva in April and urge all parties to accept the invitation and seriously participate in the work of the Committee.

End text.

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