Friday, 28 July 2017 19:34

Syrian Coalition Calls for Forming National Army as It Stresses Readiness for Direct Negotiations with Assad Regime

The Syrian Coalition called upon friendly countries to support the establishment of a unified national army to be made of the revolutionary armed groups forming an integral part of the international coalition against terror.

The Coalition on Friday held a press conference at the headquarters of the Secretariat in Istanbul, Turkey, to define its position on the latest political and field developments in Syria.

Head of the Coalition’s media department Ahmed Ramadan said: “The grave and unfortunate developments that have recently taken place in Idlib province did not come as a surprise given the conspicuous lack of sufficient support for the Free Syrian Army groups and the failure to empower the Syrian people through their legitimate political institutions to establish a unified national army.”

Urging the opposition’s armed groups to unify, Ramadan said: “The latest developments in Idlib province have put the opposition armed groups in front of a national responsibility to unify into a single national army whose primary task is to defend the liberated areas from the attacks of the Assad regime forces and their allies and to liberate the areas under the control of terrorist groups.”

The Coalition welcomed the de-escalation zones agreements reached recently in eastern Ghouta and the southern front. It stressed the need for monitoring mechanisms to ensure full implementation of these agreements.

“These agreements must lead to a halt to the bombardment and a full ceasefire on the entire Syrian territory,” Ramadan said. “These steps must be carried out in parallel with the immediate activation of the political process through direct negotiations in Geneva to address the fundamental issue, which is political transition.”

Ramadan condemned the blatant intervention of the Hezbollah militias in the Qalamoun area and their laying sieges on several towns and villages in the area in an attempt to force local residents out of their homes.

“These actions are aimed at serving Iranian plans to bring about a demographic change in the area, which includes large areas of Rural Damascus,” Ramadan went on.

Moreover, Ramadan called for a unified Arab and international position to ensure the withdrawal of all terrorist militias from all Syrian territory. He urged the Lebanese government to take the necessary measures under international supervision to prevent the crossing of elements of these militias from Lebanon to Syria to commit crimes and fight alongside the Assad gangs against the Syrian people.

With regards to the upcoming meetings in Geneva and Astana, Ramadan said that the Astana process is facing a “fundamental challenge, which is the number of agreements reached, signatories, and guarantors involved, especially as most of the parties refuse to accept Iran as guarantor.”

The Geneva process has not yet risen to the level of the "political process,” Ramadan added. “The Geneva process has so far taken the form of dialogue among the parties and the UN envoy and his team. Even the technical consultative mechanism, which is a non-binding mechanism, is being discussed by the opposition and the UN team.”

“It is surprising that the United Nations accepts the negative participation of the delegation of the regime. It is also surprising that the UN views the mere participation of the regime delegation as an achievement, thus departing from the real substance and content of the Geneva process.”

Ramadan concluded his remarks by emphasizing that the continuation of the Geneva process without achieving tangible progress, and especially given the continued military escalation by the regime and its allies and their attempts to resolve the conflict militarily, has hampered the process, undermined popular confidence in it, and sapped the required momentum behind it.

“It is widely believed now that the regime and its backers are exploiting the process to give the impression of engaging in a political process which they have emptied of any substance or meaning.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)

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