Statement by the Dutch government on recent violence in Syria

‘The government is very concerned about the violence that has flared up in recent weeks in Syria, especially in Eastern Ghouta, Idlib and Afrin. This heartless violence against innocent civilians must stop,’ said foreign minister Sigrid Kaag.

Over the past few weeks, the sustained bombing of Eastern Ghouta and Idlib and the alleged use of chemical weapons have claimed hundreds of lives and led to tens of thousands of refugees. In recent days the violence in Eastern Ghouta has escalated to such an extent that 250 people, including 58 children and 42 women, have reportedly been killed and nine hospitals have been hit within the space of 48 hours. ‘This unconscionable violence against innocent civilians must stop,’ said Ms Kaag.

‘The warring parties must respect the humanitarian law of war, and the appalling humanitarian situation must be improved. The countries that still have influence on the Assad regime must shoulder their responsibility and make this happen. In the UN Security Council Wednesday, the Netherlands strongly urged them to do so and fully supports a resolution to that effect.’