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CDS Applauds Iraq Strikes, Urges Parallel Steps in Syria



August 13, 2014

The Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS), a coalition of groups representing over 100,000 Syrian Americans, applauds the ongoing U.S. airstrikes in Iraq based on their potential to save thousands of innocent civilians. U.S. forces since Friday have carried out multiple airstrikes on the extremist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in northern Iraq, where ISIS is threatening up to 40,000 people from Iraq's Yazidi minority with extermination.

"We believe that the United States has a moral duty to protect civilians in the region facing imminent slaughter, so we were glad to hear that America has finally taken action against ISIS in defense of the Yazidis," said Mirna Barq, president of the CDS member organization Syrian American Council. "Over the past year, Syrians have suffered more than their fair share of ISIS's manic brutality and draconian oppression. We know that they have no qualms about committing unspeakable slaughter to advance their twisted visions for the region."

CDS also urges the immediate enactment of parallel airstrikes in Syria, to protect civilians terrorized by ISIS and to defend Syrian rebels who have been engaged in fierce fighting against ISIS for over eight months. In January, rebels launched a "second revolution" against ISIS that rolled back the group from most of northwestern Syria. In June, rebels launched "Operation Nahrawan" that successfully expelled ISIS from the suburbs of Damascus. Today in eastern Syria, locals in the "White Shrouds" guerrilla movement are targeting ISIS leaders for assassination, and protests for the the removal of ISIS are a regular occurrence. The Shaetat tribe even launched a full revolt against ISIS, but the revolt was crushed due to lack of weaponry.

"While we welcome airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, these airstrikes will bring only a temporary respite unless action is also taken against ISIS's extensive territorial holdings in Syria," said Ayman Abdelnour, president of CDS member organization Syrian Christians for Peace. "Unlike the Assad regime, Syrian rebels have been fighting ISIS for over eight months. They will keep doing so because the goals of ISIS are incompatible with the Syrian Revolution. It is time for America to support Syria's rebels so they can deny ISIS a rear base."

Syrian rebel operations against ISIS began on January 3, 2014 amidst massive popular protests against the group across opposition areas of Syria. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIS has killed at least 7000 Syrians since its inception in 2013.


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