On Monday, January 29, a delegation of the Permanent Representatives of the United Nations (UN) Security Council visited the US Holocaust Memorial Museum as part of an official visit to Washington. Led by US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and US National Security Adviser, Lt. General HR McMaster, the delegation toured the exhibition Syria: Please Don’t Forget Us and received a private briefing from the Simon-Skjodt Center Deputy Director summarizing the findings of a recent trip to the region by Simon-Skjodt Center staff.
Surrounded by images from the regime photographer and defector Caesar—showing the torture and murder of Syrian men, women, and children by the Assad regime—the delegation was briefed on the increasing risks faced by civilians in Idlib province, Eastern Ghouta, and those in areas newly returned to regime control. Naomi Kikoler, Deputy Director of the Simon-Skjodt Center, asserted that the Assad regime believes that it is winning the war against its enemies, including Syrian civil society organizations operating in opposition-controlled areas. This belief—combined with the lack of any consequences for mass detentions, disappearances, besiegement, bombardment, and chemical weapons attacks against the Syrian people—will lead the Assad regime, she argued, to intensify attacks on Idlib and Eastern Ghouta in an attempt to crush any remaining opposition to his rule, real or perceived.
In addition to being briefed on the current situation in Syria, the Permanent Representatives were given the opportunity hear the story of Mansour Omari, the subject of the Syria: Please Dont Forget Us and to hear additional stories of Syrian survivors and refugees who were interviewed by Simon-Skjodt Center staff for an upcoming Bearing Witness report on the future atrocity risks to Syrian civilians. The report will be released at a commemorative event at the Museum on March 15, the anniversary of the start of the Syrian uprising.
For more information on the Simon-Skjodt Center’s work on Syria, visit the Museum’s YouTube page.
To learn more about the war in Syria and the impact on civilians, visit our Syria case page.