The Syrian Coalition held a consultative meeting with leaders and representatives of civil and military bodies in Deir Ezzor province in the Turkish city of Sanliurfa on Sunday. The meeting discussed the latest field developments in the province and ways to alleviate the suffering of civilians resulting from the intensified campaign by the Russian-backed Assad regime forces and the US-backed militias of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against the ISIS extremist group.
Head of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) Jawad Abu Hatab said that Russia is working on forming weak local administrations in the province that do not represent the local population and are subject to the Assad regime. He described such moves as "merely cosmetic" and do not meet the aspirations of the Syrian people who demands freedom, dignity and the overthrow of the regime.
The local councils formed by SDF militias do not represent the local population as they serve the objectives of the militias of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Abu Hatab said. He stressed that SIG will hold meetings with all representatives of civic groups to set up real, elected local councils representing the demands of the Syrian revolution.
Abu Hatab described the reports about the suffering of civilians fleeing the fighting in Deir Ezzor and the tragic conditions in the IDPs camps built in the desert as “heart-wrenching and contradict the values of humanity." He stressed that war crimes and crimes against humanity are being committed against civilians in Deir Ezzor. He said that Russia and the United States bear full responsibility as they support groups that does not care about the fate of civilians.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee Okab Yahya said that the meeting aims to bring active civic groups in Deir Ezzor together and organize their ranks so that they contribute to the efforts aimed at relieving the people of the province. He stressed that the people of Deir Ezzor must be allowed to administer their towns and villages, adding that their work must serve the interests of civilians rather than political goals and foreign agendas.
Yahya reiterated that SIG is the legitimate representative of the Syrian opposition, calling on the international community to hand over the administration of the liberated areas to SIG staff. He emphasized that armed groups and militias must be prevented from assuming these tasks, calling for not granting them legitimacy to assume such tasks as this amounts to covering up the crimes these groups are committing against the civilian population.
Director of the Coalition’s Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) Mohammed Hassanu said that ACU cannot reach the internally displaced people in Deir Ezzor or civilians in the ISIS-held areas. He pointed out that the Unit is seeking to provide aid to all Syrian provinces without exception to connect the north to the south and thwart any attempts to divide the country. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)