Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition Nazir Hakim said that the Coalition is carrying on with its plan for the year 2017 to develop projects that would lay the foundation for the transitional period and that which will follow a just political solution in which Assad and his clique must have no role to play.
Hakim was speaking at a meeting with Kate Johnston, Head of the Syria CSSF Program, Tara Soomoro, Head of DFID Conflict and Stability Programs, and Mohammad Shamaa, Governance Advisor in the UK Department for International Development at the Coalition headquarters in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Hakim briefed his guests about the Coalition’s policy and presidential plan for the current phase and the mechanisms for implementing the plan aimed at achieving the goals that the Coalition had set for itself, including reforming the Coalition structure as well as the establishment of institutions and directorates.
The Coalition worked on important areas and issues, including education, health, and the internally displaced persons in cooperation with the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) and local councils, Hakim said. He pointed that these efforts are aimed at laying the groundwork for the transitional period.
Hakim pointed out that these projects are designed to support the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) during the Geneva negotiations through the negotiating delegation as well as the technical and logistical delegations.
Hakim elucidated the role of the Coalition, SIG, and the local councils in the current projects and the mechanism of allocating and coordinating tasks according to competence under the supervision of the Coalition.
Johnston gave an overview of the projects they are working on as well as the areas and the parties they are working with. She praised the efforts being made by the Coalition and the policies it has developed in cooperation with the Syrian Interim Government. The two sides agreed to hold a complementary meeting next month to "establish a mechanism for maintaining communication and the implementation of some joint projects in order to establish a single mechanism of action with local councils, directorates, the Syrian Interim Government, and civil society organizations. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Syrian protestors on Monday commemorated the fourth anniversary of the Ghouta massacre which was committed by the Assad this day four years ago claiming the lives of about 1,200 civilians, mostly children and women.
Syrian activists organized dozens of demonstrations and sit-in across Syria and in the diaspora, holding placards that called for brining Bashar al-Assad to justıce for being behind the orders that led to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.
On August 21, 2013, the Assad regime forces shelled eastern Ghouta and the district of Muwadamiya in western Gauta in the Damascus suburbs with sarin-filled rockets, killing about 1,200 civilians, mostly women and children.
In a report issued on August 14, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said it had recorded a total of 207 chemical weapons attacks since 2011, 174 of which took place after the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2118 on September 27, 2013. The resolution threated measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter of the United Nations in the case non-compliance.
The Syrian Coalition called upon the UN Security Council and the international community to assume their responsibilities to hold accountable hose responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria and all other crimes against civilians. It also called for taking urgent action to ensure these crimes are stopped.
"Despite the continued inaction by the international community, the Syrian people will remain true to the blood of their fallen heroes. This inaction will only increase their determination to achieve the goals of the revolution of freedom, justice and dignity," the Coalition said in a press release issued on Monday. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Abdelhakim Bashar, former Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition, said that though the Assad regime cannot reject negotiations outright, it still procrastinates and tries to wiggle out of its obligations with regards to the negotiations process.
The international community will not allow the Assad regime to carry on with its dodging and procrastination indefinitely, Bashar said. “The Assad regime will enter to negotiations only because of international pressure rather than because it is willing to do so as negotiations are aimed at the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2254 which will lead to the formation of a Transitional Governing Body (TGB) without the head of the regime and its inner circle.
"Assad" clearly contradicts himself. It accuses the opposition of terrorism while announcing it is ready to engage with it in negotiations scheduled for late August in Astana and early September in Geneva,” Bashar added. He pointed out that such remarks are "aimed only at strengthening the regime’s negotiating position," adding that the "Syrian opposition" still supports political solution in Syria in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and the UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
With regards to the Assad regime’s announcement that it will not engage in security coordination with countries that support the Syrian opposition, Bashar explained that it is these countries who have thus far refused to coordinate security with the Assad regime. He noted that “the Assad regime would not hesitate to cooperate with these countries should they invite it to do so.”
Bashar also said that the Syrian Coalition still insists on bringing all those whose hands are stained with the blood of the Syrians people to trial at the International Criminal Court. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Smart News Network)
President of the Syrian Coalition Riad Seif and members of the political committee met with Under Secretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Ümit Yalçın and Deputy Undersecretary for the Middle East and North Africa Mustafa Yurdakul in Istanbul, Turkey on Friday.
Seif stressed that a transition process will not be successful if it is not led by a leadership that shows complete belief and commitment to the goals of the Syrian revolution. “It is impossible to accept one who made decisions that led to the death of nearly one million people, the displacement of more than half of the Syrian people, and the detention of hundreds of thousands of people in the transitional period,” Seif said. He stressed that “the Assad regime and its clique cannot be part of any solution.”
Spokesman for the Coalition Hadi Bahra said that the two sides discussed the latest political developments in Syria, particularly the Geneva process "which has so far failed to lead to serious and direct negotiating process and is still stalled in a framework of discussions and consultations between the opposition and the United Nations on the one hand and the United Nations and the Assad regime on the other. Bahra underscored the need to mobilize international efforts to achieve tangible progress in the political process.
Bahra stressed the need for all parties to the Astana meetings to honor their commitments to reduce violence and allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need. He praised the positive role being played by Turkey and its efforts to reach a single agreement “that unifies the mechanisms and ensures confidence building measures that are needed to push the Geneva process forward.”
Bahra stressed the Coalition supports the Turkish efforts to reach an agreement in northern Syria that is aimed at finding possible solutions to protect civilians in Idlib province and other areas and ensures sustained access to relief aid in these areas. Bahra emphasized that Syrians are the main stakeholders in the eradication of terrorism and extremism, expressing solidarity with the government and the people of Turkey in their efforts to combat terrorism.
Bahra said that the Coalition’s presented the Turkish FM officials with its vision regarding the efforts the Syrian opposition is making in preparation for the upcoming meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh scheduled for next October. These efforts are aimed at strengthening the position of the Syrian opposition, making assessment of the past period, and making the necessary decisions to improve the performance of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) and enhance its role in negotiations.
These steps are needed to achieve the goals and aspirations of the Syrian people through a genuine and comprehensive political transitional process that enables the Syrian people regain their legitimate rights, Bahra said. He added that any transitional process must lead to the establishment of a pluralistic, civil, and democratic system of rule that is based on equality, the rule of law, and principle of equal citizenship in terms of the rights and duties. The Coalition and HNC are seeking to achieve these goals according to fundamental principles that were agreed upon by the revolution and opposition forces in the Riyadh document of 2015.
President Seif stressed the importance of constant coordination with the brothers in Turkey, expressing appreciation for the people and government of Turkey for their continued support for the demands and aspirations of the Syrian people as well as for the Turkish leadership's reaffirming of continued political and other kind of support for the Coalition. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition Nazir Hakim said that the crime that targeted elements of the civil defense in the town of Sarmin in rural Idlib on Saturday has proved that the Syrian revolution is being targeted at all levels. He said that the civil defense’s task is to save civilians away from any political ordinations or goals.
Hakim was speaking during a teleconference that brought together members of the Coalition’s political committee and the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) as well as Deputy Director of the Syrian Civil Defense Munir Mustafa and Executive Director Hussam Hallaq.
The Syrian civil defense plays an active, vital role in all places where it has a presence despite all the enormous difficulties and risks, most notably the bombings by the Assad regime and its allies. Hakim said. He added that the efforts and sacrifices being made by the civil defense workers deserve to be met with heartfelt appreciation and respect.
Member of the political committee Hadi Bahra said that the current circumstances require that all civil and political institutions focus on achieving the overall goals. This will prove “our ability to beat off the political challenges and develop flexible strategies to reach the same goal in front of the international community.”
Deputy Director of the Syrian civil defense Mounir Mustafa stressed the importance of cooperation with all institutions to help achieve the goals of the Syrian revolution and uphold its guiding principles.
Executive Director Hussam Hallaq said that the Syrian civil defense “will carry on with its mission until the corrupt regime is removed," adding that the rescue group would not accept to work with a "criminal" whose crimes are directly affecting the group.
Hallaq pointed to ongoing attempts to discredit the institutions of the Syrian revolution especially in the wake of the attack on the civil defense in Sarmin and other centers. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
As part of the efforts to reach out to and maintain close consultations with the revolution’s forces inside Syria, the Syrian Coalition held a teleconference with leaders of civic bodies in eastern Ghouta which has been subjected to intensifying bombing campaign by the Assad regime despite the signing off on a “de-escalation” agreement in the Damascus suburb in recent weeks.
The teleconference was attended by the Coalition’s Secretary-General Nazir Hakim as well as members of the Coalition’s political committee Okab Yahya, Haytham Rahma, and Safwan Jandali. On the other side of the line were Deputy Head of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) Akram Tomah, Alaa Ahmad, and Hani Hafez.
Hakim said that the relentless shelling on eastern Ghouta and the blocking of the entry of humanitarian aid by the Assad regime are aimed at increasing the pressure on the FSA and rebel fighters in the area to agree to truces that are favorable to the Assad regime.
Violations being committed by the Assad regime constitute "war crimes" under international law and the international humanitarian law, Hakim said. He stressed that “eastern Ghouta, having been a firm bulwark against the Assad regime, keeps alive the hope of victory over the Assad regime.”
Hakim pointed out that all revolutionary forces must be involved in the shaping of any political solution in Syria.
For his part, member of the political committee Okab Yahya stressed the importance of maintaining close communication and consultations about the latest political developments in Syria. He said that the Syrian revolution is facing challenges that require mobilizing all efforts and maintaining extensive, close consultation among the revolution’s forces.
SIG’s Deputy Head Akram Tomah, who is based in eastern Ghouta, said that the area is still being violently bombed by the Assad regime. “I am back from a tour to Zamalka…The district is under intense rocket shelling.”
Tomah pointed out that the electricity and fuel have been cut off to eastern Ghouta for five years, adding that “most of the civilians now live below the poverty line."
"Medicines have become too expensive,” Tomah said, warning that medical supplies are running very low in the besieged area. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition mourned the death of Syrian actress Fadwa Suleiman who passed away today (Thursday, August 17) after a struggle with disease.
Fadwa became known for her outspoken support for the Syrian revolution against the Assad regime since day one. She also led protests and sit-ins demanding the downfall of the Assad regime and chanting for freedom and dignity.
After she was forced to leave Syria, Fadwa co-organized and participated in many events around the world to publicize the Syrian revolution and its goals against dictatorship and tyranny.
The Coalition extended its heartfelt condolences to the family of Fadwa, her friends, and the youth of the Syrian revolution and its activists “who lost one of the symbols of the Syrian revolution.”
“In addition to becoming one of the most recognized faces of the revolution, Fadwa provided an excellent model of national unity and for the free actress,” said the Coalition in a press release issued on Thursday.
Born in 1970, Fadwa pursued an acting career after she graduated from the Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts in Damascus. She performed in numerous plays, TV dramas, films, radio programs, and dubbing roles prior to the start of the Syrian revolution. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition has denied it was closing down the office of its foreign mission in Paris, stressing that the office maintains constant contact with the French Foreign Ministry and the French Presidency.
In response to reports circulated by the Russian news agency Sputnik on Monday, August 14 about the French government's requesting that the Syrian Coalition close down the office of its foreign mission in Paris, the Coalition stressed that these “allegations are unfounded as the foreign mission is still carrying out its routine duties. The office maintains constant contact with the French Foreign Ministry and the French Presidency.”
Sputnik reported that France, at the request of the administration of French President Emmanuel Macaron, intends to close the office of the Coalition’s foreign mission in the French capital Paris. The Russian agency also said that Macaron intends to re-open the French embassy in Syria shortly.
The Russian news agency is known to have circulated many fake news reports about the Syrian Coalition, all of which turned out to be unfounded rumors, especially during every round of talks in Geneva.
The Coalition urged all media outlets to verify the accuracy of news related to the Syrian Coalition and the opposition as well as not to fall to the rumors being circulated on social media sites. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
A total of 1,200 intending Syrian pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia coming from Gaziantep airport to perform hajj.
Abdulrahman Nahlawi, media officer of the Syrian Coalition’s Supreme Hajj Committee said that two groups of intending Syrian pilgrims arrived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia coming from the cities of Gaziantep and Reyhanli in Turkey. He added that the third group, numbering 694 intending pilgrims, would arrive in the Kingdom on Monday.
Nahlawi pointed out that staff of the Committee in Saudi Arabia are receiving the intending Syrian pilgrims and working to facilitate their movement in the airports until they reach their places of residence. While in their residence, the pilgrims are being looked after by the Committee’s medical, religious and administrative offices.
The Committee announced that a total of 15,000 Syrians will perform hajj for this year coming from Syria, the neighboring countries as well as Qatar, Egypt, UAE and Kuwait.
The Committee has been supervising the affairs of the Syrian intending pilgrims over the past five years and has been providing them with services and all forms of facilitation, starting from obtaining visas until they reach the holy sites. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition condemned “the heinous crime” against members of the civil defense in the town of Sarmin east of Idlib, describing the act as setting a “dangerous precedent." The crime claimed the lives of seven civil defense workers.
The civil defense corps in Idlib province said that unknown gunmen stormed the center in Sarmin at dawn on Saturday and shot dead seven rescue workers who were on their night shift.
“The Syrian Coalition strongly condemns this heinous crime as it is directly following up on the situation. The Coalition will do everything possible to reveal details of the crime and expose the perpetrators,” the Coalition said in a press release issued on Saturday.
The Coalition stressed that “the perpetrators will eventually face justice and receive the punishment they deserve along with everyone whose hands are stained with the blood of innocent civilians.”
Members of the civil defense work in the liberated areas to help victims of the bombardment by the Assad regime and its allies. The corps was established to help civilians regardless of ethnicity, religion, sect, or political views.
Rescue workers have been a constant target for the Assad regime which accuses them of being "terrorists," especially after their work was widely acclaimed by international and human rights organizations. The Syrian civil defense also won international awards and was nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)