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First anniversary of the horrific chemical attacks on Syria

Friday, 29 August 2014

Media Release

Commemorating the first anniversary of the horrific chemical attacks on Syria

Members of the Syrian Community and friends are commemorating the first anniversary of the horrific chemical attacks on Syria, in Aotea Square on Saturday 30 August 2014, between 11-3 pm. The Assad regimes chemical attacks on al Ghouta were responsible for the death of up to 1500 people. As well as these events being one of the deadliest chemical attacks in recent history, they are also part of the ongoing atrocities being committed against Syrian civilians over the past three and half years. A conservative estimate puts the death toll in Syria since March 2011 at 191,000.

Despite international outrage about the Sarin attacks and an initial posturing by Britain and the US to intervene on behalf of Syrians, the international political will was not forthcoming. Instead Assad cut a deal with International powers to surrender his chemical arsenal. A clever move by the Syrian regime that enabled it to avert an international intervention. However, still to this day, the regime has consistently not met deadlines on its chemical dismantling agreement and it has been revealed by Reuters, that there are discrepancies in Assad's declarations regarding his chemical stockpiles. This in effect means that Assad may still be able to retain some chemical materials.

What started out in Syria as a popular revolution for dignity and freedom has largely been overshadowed by global geopolitics. The lack of support for the Syrian grassroots, fed at times by Islamphobia, has seen an inadequate response to the mass slaughter of innocent men, women and children. This result has lead to what some are describing as the greatest genocide of our time. Dismantling Assad’s chemical arsenal was an inadequate response to these horrific events and whilst providing an out for international intervention, makes about as much sense as dealing with ISIS by taking away the knife of the executioner responsible for the shocking killing of James Foley.

The atrocities in Syria are still ongoing with civilians being killed on a daily basis. Humanitarian crises are on the rise and the number of homeless, displaced and refugees is on the increase, with no international will to help. Thousands of children are lacking the most essential means of living, not to mention adults and the elderly.

Syrian Solidarity New Zealand invites you to come and show your solidarity with Syria and Syrians. Bring flowers, prayers or just messages of solidarity. We wish the conflict in Syria comes to an end soon and that the Syrian people finally achieve the freedom, dignity and self determination they deserve. We thank everyone for their understanding and support.

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