Saturday, 27 February 2016 17:04

Syrian Coalition Supports Efforts to Protect Civilians and Transition Assad Out

The Syrian Coalition reaffirmed its support for all efforts to protect civilians in Syria and to achieve a political solution away from Assad and his inner circle.

In response to the UN Security Council’s adoption of resolution 2268 on the “cessation of hostiles” in Syria, the Special Representative of the Syrian National Coalition to the United Nations, Dr. Najib Ghadbian, said that “the Syrian opposition supports all efforts to protect civilians in Syria, enforce Security Council resolution 2254 and to achieve a political solution.”

Ghadbian added that the solution must be achieved “through the establishment of a transitional governing body forged on the basis of mutual consent that leaves no role for Assad and his clique, as required by the Geneva Communique of June 2012. But the effectiveness of today’s resolution will be proved through action, not words.”

“To succeed, the cessation of hostilities agreed today must be rigorously monitored, verified and enforced by a third party. The Russian government, which has been responsible for over 1,500 civilian deaths in Syria and the indiscriminate bombing of hospitals and schools, cannot be trusted to monitor or verify its own war crimes,” Ghadbian added.

Ghadbian underlined that “an international mechanism must be put in place that includes: a specified timeframe defining the beginning and end of the truce; procedures for enforcing compliance; and a mandated neutral party responsible to oversee the implementation of the truce by all parties and report and identify violators. The consequences for violations must be clear and meaningful, and the parties responsible for violations must be held accountable.”

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously passed resolution 2268 negotiated by Russia and the United States on a cessation of hostilities in Syria. The agreement took effect at Friday midnight Damascus time.

Briefing the Council before the vote, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said the cessation of hostilities was the result of lengthy and detailed discussions and the outcome of intense negotiations at the highest level.

Much work for the implementation of the agreement lay ahead, he continued, stressing that Saturday would be a critical day and warning that there would be no shortage of attempts to undermine the process under way. De Mistura added that the international community must work fast to address any incidents that may arise, while all parties must demonstrate restraint.

Mr. de Mistura announced that, provided the cessation of hostilities held and humanitarian access was kept open, the intra-Syrian talks with representatives of the Assad regime and the opposition, in Geneva are to be resumed on March 7th.

The UN resolution demanded that all parties involved in the cessation of hostilities fulfill their commitments and support efforts “to create conditions for a durable and lasting ceasefire.” It also reiterated its call to the parties to immediately allow humanitarian agencies “rapid, safe and unhindered access” throughout Syria by most direct routes, and to immediately comply with their obligations under international law.

The opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) said that rebel factions had agreed to a “temporary” two-week truce, which already took effect at Friday midnight. The HNC stressed the need for considering the reservations it made about the draft UN resolution put forward by the United States and Russia.

The HNC pointed out that it was mandated by 97 rebel factions to make a final decision with regard to the truce agreement. The decision was made by a military commission chaired by the HNC’s General Coordinator Riyad Hijab. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)

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