The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has demanded the expulsion of the Syrian ambassador to South Africa in protest of the violent geo-political conflict that began in 2011.The MJC led a march to parliament yesterday, aimed at highlighting the devastating war in Syria and the current siege on Aleppo.
The Syrian army said on Thursday it had retaken full control of Aleppo, scoring its biggest victory against opposition forces since the civil war erupted in 2011. Pro-government forces drove out rebel forces from eastern Aleppo in a months-long siege and military campaign that left thousands dead and scores more injured or displaced.
The loss of east Aleppo is said to be biggest blow to Syria’s rebel movement in the nearly six-year conflict, which has killed more than 310,000 people. It puts the government in control of the country’s five main cities: Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Damascus and Latakia.
In a memorandum read out, the ulema body said it supports the right of the Syrian people to self-determination and to live in freedom and dignity. The MJC is demanding that president Bashar al Assad steps down and leaves office immediately.
Shocking reports from the UN that scores of civilians have been extrajudicially executed by advancing Syrian government forces in eastern Aleppo point to apparent war crimes,
But the ulema body stopped short of condemning the armed opposition groups who have also carried out indiscriminate attacks that have struck civilian homes, streets, markets and mosques.
Addressing the crowd, members of the MJC and Al Quds Foundation said South Africans should be at the forefront of promoting human rights as the country’s historical fight against injustice and oppression was supported by the global community during apartheid.
“It is now our duty to join the international community and pledge our community for the establishment of freedom and justice for the people of Syria,” read the official statement by the MJC and Al Quds Foundation.
The statement read that South Africans cannot completely enjoy freedom while the Syrian people live under the yoke of what it called the “oppressive Syrian regime”.
In a memorandum marked for the Minister of International Relations, Maite Nkoana Mashabane, the following demands were listed:
– We believe that it is time for the people of justice to rise and speak out in defence of justice in Syria
– We support the call for justice, equality, independent and respect for all international laws that seek to ensure peaceful and harmonious co-existence amongst all human beings
– We believe that all Syrians have a right to equal opportunities without prejudice
– We support the right of the Syrian people to self-determination and to liberate their lands and to live in it in freedom and dignity
– We support the non-negotiable right of the Syrian people including their families to return to their homes and lands from which they were uprooted
– We demand that Bashar al Assad relinquishes his position and leave office immediately
– We call for the implementation and observance of international laws that protect sovereign states from occupation and the usurping of mineral and natural resources by imperialist forces and regimes
– We demand that the Syrian government complies with United Nation rulings to stop the ethnic cleansing of Syrians and to stop the illegal occupation of Syrian land
– We condemn in the strongest terms the different proxy wars being fought in Syria and in the process, killing thousands of innocent civilians as collateral damage
– We affirm that the defence of Syria and its liberation is the duty of all free people around the world
– We demand the Iranian Shiite campaign of ethnic cleansing in Aleppo and the rest of Syria intended to change its demographic and geographic reality
– We demand the recall of the South African ambassador to Syria in protest
– We demand the expulsion of the Syrian ambassador to South Africa in protest
13.5 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance. 4.8 million Syrians are refugees, and 6.1 million are displaced within Syria; half of those affected are children.
Children affected by the Syrian conflict are at risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused, or exploited. Millions have been forced to quit school. Most Syrian refugees remain in the Middle East, in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt; slightly more than 10 percent of the refugees have fled to Europe. VOC