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International open letter calls for world to "stop Syrian genocide"

International open letter calls for world to

PanARMENIAN.Net - Over 200 artists, activists, writers and musicians have issued an open letter calling for world governments to "stop the Syrian genocide", Al Jazeera reports.

The signatories come from across the globe, including many of the major actors in the conflict: Syria, Russia, the US and Turkey.

"The United Nations says it has run out of words on Syria, but we, the undersigned, still have some for the governments, parliamentarians, electorates" and decision-makers of the world, the letter, published at the New York Review of Books on Tuesday, February 27, begins.

The Syrian military, with support from Russian warplanes, is currently battering the besieged Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta.

Eastern Ghouta is the last rebel stronghold near Damascus, the Syrian capital. It has been under siege since 2013.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a humanitarian ceasefire in the enclave that was set to begin at 9am local time on Tuesday, though activists told Al Jazeera the temporary truce was violated less than two hours after it began.

Turkey has also mounted an assault on northern Syria's Afrin, which Kurdish forces freed from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group over the course of the five-year civil war.

"Today, as Idlib and Afrin burn, the inevitable is unfolding in Ghouta, the huge open-air concentration camp about to enter its fifth year under siege. What happens next is predictable," the open letter states.

The writers called for UN member states to uphold the "Responsibility to Protect" (R2P) under the UN Office on Genocide Prevention.

The R2P calls for signatories to take "appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance … to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity".

The measure was endorsed by all UN member states in 2005.

"The destruction of Syria was preventable, and can now only be ended by the elected and appointed members of democratic bodies if they fulfil their obligations" under the R2P, the letter said.

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