SYRIA CIVIL DEFENCE
1. In the evening of 5th May, a video was posted on YouTube that highlighted the presence of Syria Civil Defence members at an execution in Hreitan, northern Aleppo. As soon as it became aware of its existence, Syria Civil Defence stated that an investigation would be conducted. The video has since been deleted by YouTube for violation of its terms and conditions.
2. Leaders of Syria Civil Defence have spoken to the members in the video and provide the following report:
On 5th May 2015, the Hreitan Civil Defence team were contacted around 11:15am by the Dar al Qadaa in Hreitan and informed that there was a corpse in the street, in front the Hreitan Main Mosque. The Civil Defence team deployed a corpse retrieval section which arrived at the location at approximately 11:35am. When the section arrived at the scene they found an execution in the process of being conducted, which was carried out at approximately 11:40 am.
3. The Charter of Syria Civil Defence (see www.SyriaCivilDefence.org) lists the tasks of the organisation which are provided for under International Humanitarian Law. One of these tasks is the emergency burial of the dead. It was under this task and mandate that the members of Hreitan Civil Defence were operating and there is no other organization in Hreitan with the mandate for cadaver collection and burial.
4. The presence of Syria Civil Defence volunteers in no way reflects complicity or encouragement in the process of the execution and Syria Civil Defence does not act in favour of, or against any party to the Syrian conflict. We unequivocally condemn the killing of civilians no matter who the perpetrator.
5. Syria Civil Defence is dedicated to saving life whenever and wherever possible and offers assistance to people based on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.
6. Syria Civil Defence is an organisation that has grown rapidly in response to urgent emergency needs inside Syria. The discussion over the video from Hreitan has highlighted the absence of a published code of conduct to which civil defence volunteers can be held accountable. The leaders of Syria Civil Defence commit to the development and publication of a code of conduct for members and its public posting on the www.SyriaCivilDefence.Org website in English and Arabic within one month.
Syria Civil Defence is a volunteer organisation of 2,600 Syrian community volunteers who operate from 104 civil defence centers across Syria and who have saved the lives of more than 16,952 victims since their founding in March 2013.
Issued by the Syria Civil Defence leadership on 6th May at 15:00 GMT +2.