The Zabadani Women’s Initiative

Press Statement

John Kirby

Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

September 11, 2015

The United States is deeply concerned about thousands of Syrian civilians trapped in Zabadani, a besieged Syrian town near the Lebanese border that has been subjected for months to relentless regime airstrikes and barrel bombs, as well as ground attacks by Hezbollah. The Asad regime has prevented remaining civilians from leaving, blocked food and humanitarian assistance from entering the area, and harassed, detained, or even killed some of those who have escaped. A temporary ceasefire in August failed.

In the face of this continued onslaught and at great personal risk, hundreds of women from Zabadani recently signed a joint plea for a ceasefire that would respect humanitarian principles, allow for the safe passage and evacuation of wounded persons, unconditional humanitarian aid, an end to arbitrary arrests, and a negotiated peace. We praise these courageous Syrian women who are working to end the violence, and we support their efforts to bring stability and respect for human rights to their community.

The United States calls on all parties to facilitate an end to hostilities in Zabadani, to avoid civilian casualties, to refrain from retaliatory attacks and sectarian violence, to comply with international humanitarian law, and to respect the human rights of all Syrians – a founding principle of the Syrian revolution.

We will continue to work with our partners toward a genuine, negotiated political transition away from Asad that ends the violence, leads to a future that fulfills Syrians’ aspirations for freedom, peace, justice, and dignity.