The Syrian Coalition said it rejected all forms of foreign interference in determining Syria’s future and the drafting of its constitution.
In a press release issued earlier today, the Syrian Coalition stressed that “the will of the Syrian people can only be determined through an elected general national conference which will be the only legitimate body entitled to assign the task of drafting a new constitution to an elected committee.”
“The new constitution will outline the shape of the state and the system of governance and will regulate the work of the judicial, legislative and executive authorities. It will then be put to the people for a vote in a referendum so that it is approved in accordance with legal procedures,” the Coalition added.
The Coalition emphasized that “the revolution for freedom and dignity aims primarily to build a state of law, citizenship and justice. For this purpose, the Syrian people have made enormous sacrifices in the face of the authoritarian exclusionary Assad regime and are determined to bring down the one-party rule and security institutions that have long confiscated the rights of the Syrian people.” (Source: Syrian Coalition)
The opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) said that negotiations in Geneva cannot be resumed whilst the Assad regime continues to violate the truce and commit the most horrible crimes on a daily basis in Syria.
Following a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday, the HNC General Coordinator Riad Hijab said that the current circumstances are not suitable to talk about the political process as a result of the regime’s systematic massacres and repeated violations of the truce, which is now anything but holding.
Hijab said that Kerry expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Aleppo and other Syrian provinces, adding that that the US top diplomat condemned the Assad regime’s targeting hospitals and populated areas.
Hijab added that Kerry referred to consultations with Moscow to press the Assad regime to cease hostilities, respect the truce and allow the creation of an appropriate environment for the resumption of the political process.
In a letter addressed to the United Nations on Thursday, the HNC called for a strong response by the UN Security Council to violations of the truce by the Assad regime and its allies. The HNC said that the Assad regime and Moscow have killed the truce by continuing with their crimes against the Syrian people.
The HNC added that the continued silence of the UN Security Council encourages the Assad regime to persist in carrying out widespread killings, massive destruction and horrifying massacres under the cover of Russia and with the support from Iran and foreign militias fighting alongside the regime.
The HNC stressed that the indiscriminate attacks against civilians require immediate action to deter the Assad regime and its allies from continuing such genocidal attacks on Syrian cities, especially on Aleppo. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
The Syrian Coalition’s representative to Germany Bassam al-Abdullah said that the regime’s deliberate bombing of civilian infrastructure in Aleppo is a direct response to the political process in Geneva.
Abdullah also said that the regime’s brutal airstrikes on Aleppo show the utmost disregard for international law and UN Security Council resolutions and constitute blatant crimes against humanity.
Abdullah called upon the international community and friends of the Syrian people to take a tough stance against the Assad regime and Russia and to clearly name violators of international resolutions and those who seek to disrupt the political process.
The German government condemned the bombing of a hospital in Aleppo on April 28 in the strongest possible terms, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Friday.
Seibert added that the destruction was targeted and therefore constituted the “murder of a huge number of civilians.”
“The available information suggests that this attack can, with some degree of probability, be traced back to the troops of (Bashar al-Assad’s) regime,” Seibert said, adding that it was a “blatant violation of humanitarian law.”
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Friday said in a statement: "Ever more serious and brutal violations of the ceasefire, first and foremost by the regime, are being reported almost every day now."
"Attacks on civilian infrastructure, especially hospitals, doctors and paramedics, infringe fundamental norms of international humanitarian law," Steinmeier added.
Steinmeier also said that "the Syrian government has to decide whether it wants to participate seriously in the negotiations, or to keep on laying waste to its own country...This escalation is putting the political process in jeopardy. We now call on all parties to the conflict to adhere to the ceasefire." (Source: Syrian Coalition)
The Syrian Coalition said that the horrific massacres the Assad regime and Russia have recently committed in Aleppo represent a coup de grace to the truce, stressing that the regime’s and Russia’s intensifying brutal attacks on Aleppo constitute a war crime.
During an ongoing meeting of the Syrian Coalition’s General Assembly, vice-president of the Coalition Muwaffaq Nyrabiya said that the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura warned that the cessation of hostilities agreement is in “grave peril” in his latest briefing to the UN Security Council. De Mistura also said that the agreement needs to be “revitalized” before the launch of a new round of negotiations.
Nyrabiya asked how it was possible to “talk about any political approach to resolving the conflict amidst these barbaric, systematic crimes against the Syrian people?”
"The international community should realize that the silence on such massacres and violations constitutes complicity in these crimes,” Nyrabiya added. “The international community has to bear the consequences of its silence as such silence directly caused the emergence of ISIS; contributed to the spread of terrorism in the world; exacerbated the refugee crises; impeded a political solution and encouraged the murderous Assad regime to carry on with committing the most heinous massacres in modern history." (Source: Syrian Coalition)
The killing and parading of bodies of dozens of FSA fighters by the PYD militias has sparked an outrage among Syrian’s Arab and Kurdish communities.
The Kurdish National Council (KNC) condemned this outrageous crime, describing it as a “conscience-shocking act.” The Council stressed that Syria’s Kurds reject such barbaric and criminal acts, adding that such reckless acts cause hostility against the Kurds with serious implications.
The Council said in a statement that the parading of bodies in the streets of populated towns constitutes a major crime, which contravenes all basic humanitarian values and is clearly aimed to terrorize and subjugate the civilian population.
The statement warned that such acts create a rift between Syria’s Kurds and other components of the Syrian society; undermine coexistence and civil peace in the region; and spark Kurdish-Arab strife, which can only advance the Assad regime’s plans and interests.” (Source: Syrian Coalition)
The Syrian Coalition’s General Assembly strongly condemned the Assad regime’s bombing of Al-Quds Hospital in the neighborhood of Al-Suakkari in Aleppo on Wednesday. Over 30 people were killed in the airstrike that targeted the hospital, including a dentist and the last pediatrician in the city.
President of the Syrian Coalition Anas al-Abdah said that massacres the regime carried out over the past week in Idlib, Aleppo and Rural Damascus against civilians, civil defense centers, and hospitals prove without a shadow of doubt that that the Assad regime is not serious about engaging in a real political solution.
Speaking during the first session of the 28th General Assembly meeting which began earlier today and will last till Saturday, Abdah said that the Assad regime is keen on disrupting the political solution and determined to pursue a military solution with the help of Russia and Iran.
Abdah added that the Assad regime has effectively “buried the truce" after carrying out over 30 massacres and around 2,500 breaches of the truce by its forces as well as 165 by Russian forces. The international community, meanwhile, has largely remained silent over these massacres and violations, he added.
Abdah pointed out that the Syrian revolution is facing challenges at all levels, expressing hope that the current General Assembly meeting will produce an integrated action plan to address these challenges
Abdah referred to attempts by some international actors to derail the Syrian revolution away from its goals, pointing out that the Syrian armed and political opposition need, now more than ever before, to remain steadfast until the goals of the revolution are achieved.
The General Assembly will discuss the formation of a new interim government to be based in the liberated areas; increasing the representation of women in the Coalition; and co-opting FSA groups on to the ranks of the Coalition. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
Former president of the Syrian Coalition Khaled Khoja said that the United States’ opposition to the establishment of safe zones inside Syria has allowed Iran and Russia to increase their influence in Syria and the entire region.
Khoja also said that the US administration’s negative positions on the Syrian conflict had given the impression that it turned its back on the Middle East. He pointed out that Russia’s influence in the region began to increase in 2013 when Moscow struck a deal with Western countries about the removal of Assad’s chemical weapons.
Khoja reiterated the opposition’s commitment to a political solution, adding that the Assad regime seeks to thwart political transition. He stressed that it is illogical to talk about a political solution in Syria under the current circumstances, adding that international community has to force Assad to sit at the negotiating table through diplomatic pressure or failing that by force. (Source: Anadolu Agency)
The Syrian Coalition said that the “cessation of hostilities” agreement failed to curb the brutality of the Assad regime as more than 1,000 civilians had been killed since the agreement went into effect late last February. The Coalition also said the Assad regime has not yet suffered any consequences for its war crimes and atrocities committed in Syria.
Following a briefing by the UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to the UN Security Council on Wednesday 27 April, the Special Representative of the Syrian Coalition to the United Nations, Dr. Najib Ghadbian, said: “There can be no peace while innocent women, men and children are being slaughtered by regime aircraft, starved by regime forces, and detained and tortured in regime jails.”
“The Syrian opposition has been clear since day one: the only sustainable path towards a political solution in Syria is for the killing of civilians to stop,” Ghadbian added.
Ghadbian stressed that “the Assad regime will not stop its war crimes of its own accord. It will only do so under meaningful international pressure from the international community.”
“It is therefore imperative that Member States and especially the ISSG take the action needed to protect civilians from indiscriminate bombing, break the sieges across Syria, demand the release of detainees, and support the efforts of Special Envoy de Mistura to save the political negotiations in Geneva in order to implement a political solution based on resolution 2254.”
Ghadbian concluded his statement by stressing that “through their actions, Member States can solve the crisis in Syria and save lives immediately. It is not a question of feasibility; it is a question of political will.” (Source: Syrian Coalition)
The Syrian Coalition called on the International Syrian Support Group (ISSG) to work on establishing a timetable for lifting the blockades on besieged areas across Syria; ensuring the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need and releasing detainees in Assad’s prisons.
At a meeting with representatives of the Friends of the Syrian People group on Wednesday, members of the Coalition’s political committee stressed the need for a timetable to achieve progress in the negotiations; for holding violators of the truce to account and for an effective mechanism to determine the sides responsible for obstructing the political process.
Representatives of the Friends of the Syrian People group showed understanding of the decision by the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee’s (HNC) to suspend participation in the Geneva negotiations as a result of the regime’s repeated violations, its hindering of the delivery of humanitarian aid and its refusal to release detainees. The political committee said there has been an increasingly large number of massacres and crimes committed by the regime during the latest round of negotiations.
The meeting touched on the suggestion made by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to establish a safe area in Syria during a visit to Syrians’ refugee camps in southern Turkey accompanied by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and a delegation from the Syrian Coalition and the HNC.
At the end of the meeting, the political committee gave a brief overview of the issues on the agenda for the Coalition’s General Assembly meeting due to begin on Thursday. The General Assembly meeting will discuss forming a new interim government based in liberated areas in order to provide services to the civilian population in those areas. It will also discuss increasing the representation of women in the Syrian Coalition and co-opt FSA groups on to the ranks of the Coalition. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Fouad Aliko warned of a potential humanitarian disaster in Aleppo should the Assad regime and its allies carry on with their plans to encircle the city.
Aliko said that the Assad regime and its allies have already escalated brutal attacks in Aleppo in recent days, slamming the failure of the friendly countries, particularly the European Union and the United States, to provide sufficient support for the political and military opposition compared to the support Russia and Iran provide for the Assad regime.
Activists said that 30 civilians at least were killed and many more wounded in airstrikes by the Assad regime and Russian forces on rebel-held neighborhoods in Aleppo as well as on Aleppo’s rural areas on Tuesday. Russian and regime forces have conducted over 30 air raids on Aleppo since yesterday morning.
The military escalation by Russia and the Assad regime in and around Aleppo in recent days is clearly aimed at forcing residents of those areas to leave their homes in preparation for a ground attack.
A correspondent for Al Jazeera TV channel said that a high-ranking Russian officer is co-directing the military campaign on Aleppo.
Regime forces, in cooperation with the PYD militias, seek to cut off the Castello road, the last supply route to the rebel-held parts of the city.
Aliko reiterated that negotiations with the Assad regime in Geneva could not be resumed unless Articles 12 and 13 of the UN Security Council resolution 2254 are enforced. He also stressed the need for a clear timetable for the political process beginning with the formation of a transitional governing body without Assad and his inner circle. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)