As an organization committed to documenting human rights violations, and Syrians who are too familiar with indiscriminate shelling, occupation, and forced displacement, the team at Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ) expresses our support of, and solidarity with, the people of Ukraine in response to Russian aggression.
Days after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, it has shown a disregard for the international laws to which it is a signatory country and the lives of civilians. Russia has carried out indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas and has forced more than a million Ukrainian refugees and non-Ukrainian nationals to seek safety in neighboring countries. In Russia, Russian journalists and civilians who have challenged the regime’s invasion of Ukraine have been met with censorship. Thousands of anti-war protestors have been arrested across Russia.
As a Syrian human rights organization, these scenes are only too familiar. For the past several years, we have documented the impact of indiscriminate artillery strikes – including by the Russian air force – on civilian areas across Syria. We have listened to the testimonies of internally displaced civilians and refugees who have lost access to their homes and communities as well, and monitored the violations committed in Turkish-occupied territories in northern Syria, notably in the areas of Afrin, Ras al-Ayn/Serê Kaniyê, and Tal Abyad.
We call on the international community to
- Provide support and asylum to Ukrainian refugees fleeing violence, as well as provide equal assistance to non-Ukrainian nationals who are also fleeing the country and seeking safety.
- Unequivocally condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and continue pressuring the Russian government to end its military actions and immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine’s territory.
- Protect all civilians in Ukraine and pave the way for accountability for all perpetrators of human rights violations during the Ukrainian conflict.