The latest attack in a marketplace in Maraat al-Numan in North West Syria on July 22 is one of the deadliest attacks on civilian areas since the current offensive began at the end of April. We express our most sincere condolences to the families of the victims.
As the UN points out, this is another shocking escalation in the worsening conflict in north-west Syria. There is a worrying pattern of attacks on critical civilian infrastructure, including health facilities, school and water facilities by the Syrian regime and its allies and such attacks have to stop.
Indiscriminate attacks and the destruction of civilian infrastructure cannot be justified under any circumstances. The EU recalls that all parties to the conflict are bound to respect and uphold international humanitarian law and to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need. We expect the Syrian regime and the Astana guarantors to fulfil immediately their responsibilities and commitments, and ensure the immediate protection of civilians. We reiterate the EU position that all the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity should be held accountable.
The current hostilities demonstrate once again that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Syria. The EU continues to press for an inclusive, genuine and comprehensive political transition according to UNSCR 2254 and the Geneva Communique.