The United States is outraged by reports that the Assad regime has arrested family members of the Syrian Opposition Coalition delegation to the Geneva II peace talks, designated delegates as terrorists, and seized delegates’ assets. Such actions blatantly disregard the international community’s welcome, through unanimously approved UN Security Council Resolution 2139, of the Geneva talks. We call on the regime to immediately and unconditionally release all those unfairly arrested, including Mahmoud Sabra, brother of Geneva delegation member Mohammed Sabra.
By targeting family members of opposition delegates participating in the Geneva talks, the regime is not only defying the international community but also seeking to suppress the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. In contrast, the moderate opposition is working courageously to secure a genuine political transition that meets these aspirations and enables the people to independently and democratically determine their own future. The opposition delegation must be permitted to safely and securely work towards the political transition for which the Security Council and the Geneva Communiqué have called.
Unfortunately, these arrests and attempts to silence dissent are not new behavior for the Assad regime. This regime continues to brutalize the Syrian people through aerial bombardment and other indiscriminate attacks that maim and kill civilians by the thousands. Political and arbitrary imprisonment, and the systematic torture and death of tens of thousands of people without access to due process, are but a few of the regime’s documented human rights violations.