The Syrian Coalition’s presidential body and political committee met with representatives of the Friends of Syria countries at the headquarters of the Coalition’s General Secretariat in Istanbul, Turkey on Thursday.
The meeting discussed the latest field developments in Syria, especially the situation in Idlib, Raqqa and Deir Ezzor provinces as well as the latest political developments with regards to the revival of the Geneva process and preparations for the upcoming Riyadh II Conference.
Coalition President Riad Seif called on representatives of the Friends of Syria countries to step up support for the Coalition, the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), and the Coalition-affiliated rebel groups to fill the vacuum and administer the liberated areas.
Seif pointed out that the Coalition, SIG, and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups are already engaged in the administrative work, the decision-making process and administration of the country. He rejected attempts by some parties to exclude the Coalition and its institutions.
“While the Coalition institutions have become alienated from some areas of Syria, the PYD militias were empowered to recapture Raqqa. Other forces are storming Deir Ezzor and signing off on regional and international agreements without having any kind of legitimacy to do so,” Seif said.
Seif pointed out that Russia is the biggest beneficiary of these policies. “This behavior towards the opposition institutions risks helps Russia directly and indirectly implement its plans to save Bashar al-Assad, dilute the process of political transition and empty it of any meaning.”
Seif warned of the continuation of the current situation, stressing that this "may lead to very serious repercussions on the future of Syria and its unity." He also stressed that the current strategy to fight ISIS and Al-Qaeda is limited to fighting the results without paying attention to the need to eliminate the reasons behind the emergence of these terrorist groups.
In addition to the power vacuum in the liberated areas, the Assad regime played a pivotal role in allowing such extremist organizations to grow and fester by ignoring these groups for a long time while deliberately and brutally targeting civilian areas and the FSA groups, Seif added. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
A delegation from residents of Deir Ezzor province met with Adnan Kesici, Turkish government official in charge of following up on the affairs of Syrian refugees to discuss the administrative, humanitarian and military situation in the province. The province has been witnessing heavy fighting between Russian-backed regime forces and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF0 to drive ISIS from the province. The meeting was also attended by Secretary-General of the Syrian Interim Government Hussein Bakri.
The delegation was chosen from those who participated in the workshop which was organized by the Syrian Coalition in the Turkish city of Sanliurfa on Sunday and Monday. Participants included representatives of civil and military bodies in the province.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee Okab Yahya said that a similar meeting was earlier held between a delegation from Deir Ezzor residents and the Turkish official in the Turkish city of Gaziantep. The delegation included four from those who participated in the workshop, including a woman.
Yahya pointed out that the meeting focused on two main issues, namely the urgent setting up of camps for the displaced in northern rural Aleppo and equipping them with the basic necessities as well as the securing of safe corridors for civilians to flee from the areas witnessing heavy fighting and the delivery of humanitarian aid to them.
Yahya pointed out that the meeting was very positive as he thanked the Turkish government for the assistance it is providing to the Syrian people and its efforts to alleviate their suffering.
Deir Ezzor province has been the site for fierce battles between regime forces and the Iranian militias backed by Russian aerial cover as well as the US-backed militias of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on one hand and ISIS on the other. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in indiscriminate aerial bombardment on residential areas, while tens of thousands more were forced to flee and seek refuge in camps erected in the desert that activists nicknamed "camps of death." (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)