Open Letter on the UN Monitoring Mission from the Residents of Zabadani
via Local Coordination Committees in Syria
We, the residents of the city of Zabadani, draw your attention to the fact that the international delegation of UN observers visited the city yesterday, Monday, April 23, and met with opposition activists. The meeting lasted 10 minutes.
Upon their arrival, only three of the monitors emerged from the UN vehicle: the head of the mission, an Indian; a Brazilian monitor; and a third, a Moroccan, Col. Ahmad Hamishi. The rest of the observers remained in the vehicle.
When we requested that Col. Hamishi receive the lists of detainees, some of whom had been detained for 8 months, and lists of local martyrs and their causes of death, he refused, explaining that it was not part of his mission.
After that, we asked him to take possession of our activists’ Google Earth satellite images of the map of Zabadany. The images show clearly where heavy military equipment is stationed in the city, and where tanks and artillery equipment are deployed; this equipment has a range of approximately 45 kilometers. Col. Hamishi refused to accept the images, providing no reason for his refusal.
When we informed him that we had risked our lives to meet him, and were ready to accompany him so that he could see with his own eyes the widespread military checkpoints, he refused, saying he did not have the time.
As he walked to his car to leave, after fewer than 10 minutes with us, one of our activists pointed to a house in which a wall had been destroyed during Assad forces’ bombing. Col. Hamishi informed us that he did not believe that the damage was the effect of shelling, and that his position was justified by the fact that the house had not completely burned down.
When the mother of a missing person approached to request that he return her son, he refused to listen to her, and informed her that he did not know Arabic.
After that, the UN observers’ delegation met with a regime delegation made up of Intelligence agents and shabiha. The regime representatives informed the UN observers that there was no military or tank deployment in the city – even though they would have had to pass through checkpoints to reach the area where the opposition activists were gathered.
It is important to note that the Syrian Intelligence agents listed the names of the activists who met with the UN delegation, and listed those activists as armed and dangerous criminals who must be prosecuted and executed.