US President Barack Obama’s reluctance to establish a “safe zone” in Syria contributed to Thursday’s refugee camp massacre by the Assad regime in the northwestern province of Idlib, a prominent Syrian opposition group has asserted.
“This criminal behaviour shows there can be no talk of a political approach [to the crisis] amid ongoing crimes by the [Assad] regime and its allies,” the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces said in a Friday statement.
The coalition condemned what it described as the international community’s “silence” in the face of ongoing rights breaches by the Assad regime, which, it said, was tantamount to “complicity” in the latter’s crimes and gave it a “green light to murder Syrians”.
On Thursday, according to reports, some 30 civilians were killed and dozens of others injured by a regime airstrike that targeted the Kamuna refugee camp near Idlib’s town of Sarmada.
“The women and children that were killed… in the Kamuna camp should have been in a safe zone, which U.S. President Barack Obama has refused to establish,” the coalition statement read.
Coalition member Ahmed Ramadan, for his part, called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be referred to the International Criminal Court for prosecution as his regime had committed “blatant war crimes against women and children”.
Turkey, France, the U.K. and the UN have all condemned Thursday’s airstrike on the refugee camp, which is located close to the Turkish border.
In March, Turkey’s National Security Council reiterated calls to establish a no-fly zone in northern Syria.
On March 24, shortly after a spate of suicide attacks in Ankara, Istanbul and Brussels, the council convened in Ankara under the chairmanship of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after which it released a statement on the Syria crisis — now in its sixth year — and ongoing counterterrorism efforts.
In the statement, the council described Turkish proposals for establishing a no-fly zone in Syria as “correct and appropriate”.
The council also urged the UN and the international community to assume greater responsibility vis-à-vis the crisis with a view to promoting regional security and stability.
The statement also said that Turkish proposals for resolving the unprecedented Syrian refugee crisis — proposal that enjoy EU support — should be implemented “as soon as possible”.
Turkey currently hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees in the world and has spent more than 7 billion euros (roughly $7.7 billion) to accommodate them.
Syria has remained locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests — which erupted as part of the “Arab Spring” uprisings — with unexpected ferocity.