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The World Council of Churches (WCC) is deeply appalled by and condemns the dramatic escalation of military actions against civilians in the Eastern Ghouta of Damascus, Syria, which has led to more than 550 innocent civilians being killed, including more than 130 children as well as women and elderly people, not to mention the thousands of injured, and those who are still buried under the rubble.

The WCC is saddened and shocked to note that this is still happening despite the Security Council resolution 2401 adopted unanimously on 24 February 2018, imposing an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. The continuation of the Syrian army military offensive targeting civilians and preventing access of humanitarian aid to a civilian population, who has been under siege for the last five years, is morally and ethically unacceptable and condemnable by all norms and virtues, as well as by international law and international humanitarian law.

The WCC has always condemned the targeting of civilians by all parties to the conflict, and therefore we are urgently calling the UNSC, and particularly those countries that have direct influence on the ground to immediately put an end to the tragedy that has been going on for so long in the Eastern Ghouta of Damascus, and recently in Efrin, as well as in other besieged regions.

Our hearts and prayers are with all those in Syria who are suffering from war and violence, from injustices and oppression, and from being forgotten by the international community. We ask God to comfort all those who have lost their beloved ones. We affirm that we stand in solidarity with the suffering people of Syria and hope that their aspirations for freedom and human dignity will be reached soon through putting an end to this absurd war and engaging in the political process led by the UN in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions.

Geneva 26 February, 2018

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
General Secretary
World Council of Churches