A statement on the discontinuing of activities of the media department of 24CR

After the Assad regime used violence to subdue the peaceful Syrian revolution in 2011, the cycle of violence was ignited and many individuals and groups picked up arms as way of self-defense. Two opposing paths were taken in trying to get rid of the Assad regime: one that believed in non-violence and one that chose to use violent methods to fight the regime, engaging in a war to dominate territory and people’s livelihood. This opened the door for extremism to flourish.

With the rise of violence, civil activism was at risk from several dangers, including getting forcibly detained, or being eliminated by the Assad security forces, or by extremist entities and armed groups. The level of crimes against humanity committed by these groups rose almost to the level of crimes of the Assad regime, with activists subjected to kidnappings and killings.

The 24CR was born from the increasing need for a social movement to fight extremism. After three years of hard work it evolved into a civil resistance group that focused on fighting extremist ideologies and practices, by whoever was committing them, whether it was the Assad regime or armed groups. Our work escalated with the rise of Daesh and al-Nusra front, and other groups with a similar set of beliefs. Our duties increased, and geographically we spread to Idlib, Aleppo, Raqqa, and Deir ez-Zor, We expanded to 18 working groups and 120 volunteers. Our work was divided between raising public awareness and campaigns, working on the ground with civilians, in addition to bringing news of what was happening on the ground for the world to see. Our aim was to fight extremism and to expose crimes done by all sides.

Many of our friend and colleagues paid the highest price and lost their lives. One of the main obstacles that have faced us are the attempts by different armed groups to subsume us into their own agendas. We refused all these attempts. We also refused all temptations offered by international powers who are sponsoring armed violence in Syria. We refused to slip into the circle of violence.

The countries involved in Syria have failed to understand that fighting extremism needs a social reform front. Our media department has been faced with a choice between losing funding and losing independence. We continue to stand by what we believe in. We refused to be tools used to divide and dominate Syria.

We have had to rethink our plans, to prioritise protection of the social fabric of Syria, and to protect our work from being used for any agenda which will make the situation in Syria worse. We refuse to get involved in any project that will use local communities for a project that is not for the good of our country.

Based on all of this we announce the discontinuing of activities of the media department of 24CR. We will focus on our research work and working on the ground with civilians by out commitment to non-violence.

We thank our friends who have helped and trusted us through the last few years, and supported us through local and international media. We assure them that our work will not stop, that we will protect our work from being used by any of the armed parties in Syria, and that we will work to achieve peace in Syria, and to do what is best for civilians there. We welcome international research centers to contact us, so they can use our archive and work with us to shed light on the issues in the best interest of civilians in Syria.

24CR

19 October 2018