Secretary of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Yahya Maktabi said that the international community risks undermining the principles of democracy, dignity and human rights in Syria, pointing to attempts to rehabilitate the Assad regime.
"We are trying to clarify the issue of the Syrian people, which requires the unification of the efforts of everyone. We are also seeking to restore confidence between us and the Syrian people," Maktabi told Elaph newspaper. "This will hopefully be achieved through close cooperation between members of the Coalition and civil society organizations and organizations working on the ground in Syria.”
Maktabi pointed to an “ambitious project” to reform the Syrian Coalition at the level of organization and performance, noting that the project was adopted by president of the Coalition, Riad Seif and the majority in the Coalition members. At the organizational level, the Coalition will seek to incorporate more national figures and improve the representation of the FSA groups in the Coalition.
The Coalition will discuss the situation of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) working in the liberated areas and the difficulties and challenges it faces, Maktabi said. He added that one of the Coalition’s priorities is to encourage friendly and sisterly countries to support SIG and enable it carry out its tasks.
Maktabi concluded his remarks by stressing that in order not to lose credibility and to avoid political posturing within the context of the Geneva talks, the Coalition will not set unrealistic high expectations. Maktabi reiterated that the Coalition’s primary mission remains to defend the Syrian people and the Syrian revolution and represent them at the political level and to spare no effort to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Members of the delegation of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) to the seventh round of the Geneva talks discussed the latest political and military developments in eastern Qalamoun with representatives of civil and military groups in the area on Wednesday.
The representatives said that eastern Qalamoun has been subjected to crippling siege by the ISIS extremist group and the Assad regime.
The Assad regime has recently launched a large-scale offensive on civilian areas and FSA positions in eastern Qalamoun in rural Damascus backed by the Russian army. The Assad regime is seeking a repeat of the scenario that took place in other liberated areas across Syria and which ended with mass forced displacement of the local population changing the demographic landscape in those areas.
Following the launch of the offensive in eastern Qalamoun, the Assad regime closed down the only route to the town of Jeroud. Representatives of the residents in the area said that the move is aimed at putting "more pressure on civilians to agree to the settlement that Russia is trying to impose on the local population."
The two sides discussed the ongoing negotiations between the FSA groups in the area on one side and the Assad regime and Russia on the other. The representatives stressed that "their agreeing to negotiate with the regime does not mean surrender and that they will continue to defend their areas.”
The representatives said that Russia couldn’t claim to be a guarantor of any agreement as it continues to support the regime and advance its interests.
Members of the HNC delegation stressed that they raised the situation in both Qalamoun and Arsal before active players in Syria and UN organizations in meetings in Geneva.
"We are exerting every effort so that the cease-fire agreement covers all Syria, not only Dara’a,” said George Sabra, Head of the HNC mission to Geneva.
Sabra added that the Assad regime’s pursuit of negotiations with the Syrian people to reach the so-called "reconciliation deals" is the result of its failure to achieve any military progress on the ground and the revival of political process by major players in Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The delegation of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) to the 7th round of Geneva talks discussed the latest developments on the ground in Dara’a province with the local council in Dara’a in a teleconference on Tuesday.
"We should not be derailed from our primary goals, namely to ensure civilians are protected and comprehensive ceasefire is put in place,” said Nasr Hariri, head of the HNC’s delegation to Geneva.
Hariri stressed that the cease-fire must not be reached at the expense of our fundamental principle, which is the overthrow of the murderous regime and the preserving of the integrity of Syrian territory. He vowed that the HNC delegation “will not buckle down or go back and will remain true to the blood of the fallen heroes.”
A member of the local council in Dara’a said that the regime is not committed to the truce, talking of “daily violations of the cease-fire by regime forces.” He stressed that "our main goal to overthrow the murderous regime with all its symbols and security institutions and preserve the integrity of the Syrian territory.”
“We insist that the de-escalation agreement must cover not only Dara’a province, but on all Syrian territory," the member said. He stressed that they will remain "steadfast on the ground."
Members of the council renewed their support for the HNC delegation in the current round of talks in Geneva, adding that they stand by the HNC delegation and their efforts to reach a full political transition through the formation of a transitional governing body with full of executive powers without Bashar al-Assad and his clique.
Members of the HNC praised the steadfastness of the FSA fighters in Dara’a and everywhere across Syria. They pointed to "consensus in the opposition not to accept a pre-transitional phase" that includes officials from the Assad regime. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Free Syrian Army groups operating in the Syrian Desert announced they have shot down an Assad regime jet over the Um Ramim area northwest of Mahratha in the Syrian Desert and damaged a helicopter near Alseen airbase in rural Damascus. The Osoud Sharqiya and Ahmed Abdo Brigades FSA groups previously announced the launch of a counteroffensive dubbed “The Land is Ours” to repel regime attacks on the FSA positions in the Syrian Desert.
The FSA groups on Tuesday said they have recaptured the Umm Ramim area from regime forces, adding that they have destroyed two tanks and a bulldozer belonging to regime forces. At least 35 pro-regime militants have been killed in the FSA counteroffensive in Syrian Desert, the FSA groups said.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Coalition stressed that areas currently being targeted by the Assad regime and the Russian air force in the Syrian Desert are completely under the control of the Free Syrian Army.
In a press release issued on Monday, the Coalition said the FSA groups liberated these areas from the ISIS extremist group organization following offensives launched in early 2017 across eastern rural Swaidaa and the Syrian Desert, including Tal Makhoul hill and the “Scientific Research Platoon.”
The Coalition condemned any attacks on or attempts to advance in those areas under the pretext of fighting ISIS as it warned brokers of the agreement of the dire consequences of using the agreement to justify attacks on the FSA groups.
The Coalition stressed the need to force the Assad regime to stop its attacks and withdraw its forces immediately from the areas they have advanced onto since the agreement went into force on Sunday, July 9.
The Assad regime forces, backed by Russia aerial cover, are trying to advance in the southern Syrian Desert, claiming the area is not covered by the ceasefire agreement brokered by the United States and Russia. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)