The Syrian Coalition’s Supreme Hajj Committee announced the start of the reception of applications for the upcoming Hajj season, stressing it would serve all Syrians in all Syrian territory.
The Syrian Hajj Director Samer Birqdar said the Committee began receiving applications starting from Monday, January 29 until March 8.
Birqdar pointed out that intended pilgrims can contact the Committee’s 13 offices in Syria and neighboring countries.
Birqdar stressed that the Committee serves all Syrians regardless of their places of residence or political affiliation. He noted that the Committee managed Hajj for all Syrian pilgrims from all regions across Syria in previous seasons, adding that the Committee’s offices are working on facilitating Hajj journeys for Syrians living in the regime-held areas.
Nazir al-Hakim, Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition and Head of the Supreme Hajj Committee, in early January signed pilgrimage contracts for the upcoming hajj season with the Ministry of Hajj in Saudi Arabia for all Syria’s quota of pilgrims this year. The contract will allow 18,000 Syrians to perform hajj for the 2018 season.
The Committee has overseen the hajj journeys for Syrians’ pilgrims for the sixth consecutive year. It is seeking to increase Syria’s quota to pre-war numbers. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
An official in the Syrian Coalition said that the manner in which Moscow organized the Sochi Conference reflected its vision of the future Syrian state, which is based on the continuation of dictatorial rule, the empowerment of criminals, and the hijacking of the will of the Syrian people.
"We cannot describe what happened during the Sochi conference but as a charade as it did not meet the minimum standards set by the United Nations for democracy and the people’s right to freely express themselves,” said Mohamed Yahya Maktabi, Secretary of the Coalition’s political committee.
Maktabi pointed out that the way Moscow organized the conference demonstrated its vision for the future Syria, stressing that Moscow wants Syria to be "subject to Russia and robbed of its will.”
Maktabi condemned the existence of such a large number of invitees who he described as puppets similar to those comprising the so-called People's Assembly of the Assad regime. He also denounced the invitation of criminals who are responsible for war crimes in Syria, most notably Miraç Ora who is on the wanted list in Turkey and the mastermind of massacres against civilians in the Syrian town of Baniyas.
Maktabi also rejected Moscow's attempts to undermine the will of the Syrian people and to impose conditions on them as well to monopolize efforts to reach a political solution in Syria. He called on the United Nations to enforce the resolutions it passed on Syria, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254 calling for full political transition in Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Riad Seif said that Russia must stop attempts to circumvent the Syrian revolution and re-produce the Assad regime. He called on Russia to work with the international community to agree on bringing about a political solution in Syria in line with UN resolutions on Syria, chiefly among them is the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2554.
Seif said that Moscow's continued attempts to impose its own vision for political solution in Syria, despite the failure of all previous attempts, has indicated it is determined to undermine the political process and demonstrated its failure to play its role as a permanent member of the United Nations.
Nobody can hijack the will of the Syrian people neither by exerting pressure on the Syrian opposition in the political process or by the killing of civilians and the targeting of public markets, hospitals and service centers with the support of the Russian air force, Seif stressed.
Seif underscored that the Syrian opposition and revolution forces are now unified more than ever as they have won the confidence of the Syrian people by insisting on meeting their demands for bringing about a radical and genuine change in the structure of the regime and the establishment of a democratic, pluralistic state without the dictatorship of Assad.
Seif pointed out that the Syrian Coalition’s Assembly voted against participation in the Sochi conference three months ago, adding that this refusal came to emphasize that a political solution can only be the outcome of the UN-led Geneva process. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Riad Seif reaffirmed the Coalition’s commitment to the Geneva political process under the umbrella of the UN in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions 2118 and 2254. He was speaking at a meeting with Parliamentary Secretary to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Omar Alghabra and a delegation from the Canadian Foreign Ministry on Friday. The meeting was also attended by Secretary-General Nazir Al-Hakim, Vice-president Salwa Aksoy, and members of the Coalition’s Department of Foreign Affairs Anas al-Abda and Dima Musa.
The Canadian delegation included Canadian Special Envoy to Syria Ruben Whitlover, Canadian Consul General in Istanbul Ulric Shannon, and Counselor for Middle East Policy at the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Duchon Laporte.
The Canadian delegation commended the performance and wisdom being shown by the Syrian opposition in these difficult circumstances of the political process. It reaffirmed Canadian government's support for the Syrian people and its commitment to supporting the UN-led negotiation process aimed at achieving political transition in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254 and in line with the aspirations of the Syrian people as well as putting an end to bloodshed and suffering of the Syrian people.
The two sides stressed the need to pay greater attention to the participation of women in political work and the need for Syrian women to be in the decision-making centers alongside men. They also discussed the ideas and topics related to advocacy projects and the political empowerment of Syrian women. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Nasr al-Hariri, Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, said that the Commission decided not to participate in the upcoming Sochi conference as he reaffirmed commitment to the UN-led political process during the final press conference held in Vienna earlier on Saturday.
“We have been involved in international efforts to push the political process forward and to expedite a political solution. These efforts yielded good ideas facilitating the political process,” Hariri told reporters in Vienna. He noted that the Commission’s visit to Moscow was a good opportunity to reach commonalities in political solution to achieve the interests of everyone through a meaningful political process.”
Hariri pointed out that the Commission's delegation held dialogue with the Russian side, the United Nations, Turkey and the United States to take advantage of any initiative aimed at pushing for a political solution in Geneva.
Hariri stressed that the Assad regime does not believe in a political solution as he underscored the need for collective international efforts to implement UN Security Council resolution 2254, which requires a genuine international desire.
Hariri described the Commission’s performance as positive and resilient as he stressed that it has not waived the fundamental principles of the revolution. "In a free and transparent voting and after serious discussions and delicate, detailed negotiations, we have come to the decision the Commission will not participate in the Sochi conference.”
Hariri reaffirmed commitment to a political solution that would ensure the lifting of the sieges and the release of detainees. He underscored that Geneva is the only venue to reach a political settlement as he stressed that all international initiatives should be based on UN Security Council resolution 2254. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Officials in the Syrian Negotiations Commission said that the war crimes being committed against civilians in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta must be stopped immediately. They held the United Nations responsible for the deteriorating situation in eastern Ghouta because of its failure to take firm stance forcing the Assad regime to stop its ongoing onslaught on the besieged area.
The Commission officials made these remarks at a teleconference with civic leading figures in eastern Ghouta on Thursday.
Member of the Commission Abdul Ilah Fahad said that the Commission is keen to continue to communicate with all revolutionary bodies across Syria to keep them informed about the latest information, initiatives and dialogues with the United Nations and about developments in the negotiating process.
Member of the Commission Firas al-Khalidi pointed out that the political process is in danger because of attempts to undermine the Geneva process and impose a Russian-made solution on Syrians during the conference to be held at the end of this month in Sochi. He stressed that this revolution will not abandon its principles and goals in repelling aggression and the prosecution of criminals.
Member of the Commission Ahmed Al-Asrawi said that Russian officials did not provide complete answers to questions about the planned Sochi conference during a visit by a delegation of the Commission to Moscow last week. He noted that the delegation told the Russian side that they were committed to a political solution in Syria and the full implementation of UN resolutions on Syria, which cannot be achieved as long as the Assad regime survives in power.
The leading figures in eastern Ghouta stressed that the humanitarian situation continues to worsen because of the continued onslaught by the Assad regime and the tightened siege on the entire area as well as the blocking of the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.
They pointed out that Russia did not abide by the terms of the de-escalation zones’ agreement. They added that while the Commissions’ delegation was in Moscow, regime forces were dropping toxic chlorine-filled bombs on the district of Douma, causing dozens of asphyxiation among civilians, including women and children. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission Nasr Al-Hariri stressed that the current round of UN-led negotiations in Vienna will test the Assad regime and its backers’ seriousness to engage in the political process and implement international resolutions.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Hariri said that "the current round of negotiations will test the seriousness of all parties in the political process." He added: "We are here today to follow up what we have already talked about, namely the intra-Syrian talks to reach a just and real solution under the auspices of the United Nations. We are keen to reach a political solution in the country."
Hariri welcomed "the renewed commitment of international partners to supporting the UN-led negotiations," pointing out that the Commission has recently held several meetings in various countries, the latest of which was with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday.
Hariri said that the messages the Commission has received during its international tour over the past week, which included the United Nations, the United States, France, Britain, Turkey and Russia, were “clear in that there was an intention to support the Geneva process aimed at bringing about a political transition in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254."
"We are waiting for this intention to materialize by bringing the Assad regime to the negotiating table,” Hariri said, adding that the “Syrian Negotiations Commission is ready to discuss all the details of UNSC resolution 2254 to achieve political transition, including constitutional issues and elections.”
Hariri underscored that the Commission has "a genuine desire to implement UNSC resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communique of 2012 calling for the initiation of a transition stage with full powers, the drafting of a new constitution, and the holding of fair elections.” He noted that the current round of talks would focus on constitutional issues.
"If the United Nations is serious, all parties must abide by the primary goal of negotiations by implementing UN Security Council resolution 2254. We have never heard from the Assad regime that it is going to engage seriously in these negotiations."
As for the Commission’s position of the so-called national dialogue conference to be held in Sochi, Hariri pointed out that they did not have enough information about the conference and that they need to read the developments, especially over the next two days. He stressed that any decision taken by the Commission will not contravene the Syrian people’s demands and aspirations. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Riad Seif participated in a meeting with European donor countries at the headquarters of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) in Gaziantep, southern Turkey on Thursday.
SIG’s Head Jawad Abu Hatab, SIG’s ministers, heads of local councils, and head of Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) participated in the meeting.
The aim of the meeting was to coordinate efforts with SIG on existing programs and to develop new programs that are consistent with SIG’s goals to provide essential services to the civilian population as well as restore security and stability to the liberated areas.
Abu Hatab and his deputies gave an overview of SIG’s work in the liberated areas and its services projects. They called for stepping up support for the SIG’s work on the ground to restore institutions as well as develop services and investment projects with the aim of providing services to the Syrian civilians, preventing the fragmentation of the Syrian territory, and restoring stability to the liberated areas.
They also called for supporting SIG’s efforts to establish a professional, institutional, and legal system. Moreover, they stressed the need to append the capabilities of the local councils within the legal framework of the state and in line with the SIG’s internal regulations.
Speaking via a video link from besieged eastern Ghouta, SIG’s Deputy-Head Akram Tomeh gave an overview of SIG’s work in southern Syria and eastern Ghouta as he highlighted the challenges facing it, especially the tightened siege and the intensifying military campaigns by the Assad regime and its sectarian militias on the area.
SIG prioritizes the meeting of the needs of civilians in the liberated areas in the areas of health, services, food and education. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday received Nasr Hariri, Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission. Both sides discussed the regional and international developments ahead of the current round of UN-led negotiations.
The two sides also discussed the outcome of the international tour a delegation of the Commission has recently done. Discussions were especially focused on the delegation’s recent visit to the Russian Federation.
Hariri thanked Turkey for the support it provides to the Syrian people in their quest to regain their rights and achieve their aspirations for the establishment of a democratic state that safeguards the rights of all its citizens.
President Erdoğan expressed support for the efforts the Commission is making to ensure full implementation of UN resolutions as he affirmed that the Turkish position corresponds with all steps that are likely to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people.
The Turkish president also stressed that Turkey stands at the same distance from all components of the Syrian people and that Turkey’s military operations in northern Syria target terrorist militias that aid the Assad regime in the killing the Syrian people and also threaten Turkish security.
President Erdogan emphasized the Turkish army's keenness not to cause any harm to civilians, adding that precautions the Turkish army is taking have prolonged the military operations in Syria’s north. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition’s Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday met with a high-level delegation from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The two sides discussed the latest field and difficult developments and the humanitarian situation in Syria which has worsened because of the repeated military attacks by regime forces and their allies. They also discussed the Sochi conference due to be held next week.
Head of the Department, Abdul Ahad Steifo urged China to play a bigger role in the political process in Syria as both sides agreed that there would be a visit by the Coalition to the Chinese capital Beijing in the near future.
"The political process has completely stalled," Steifo said, adding that "there is no progress in the implementation of UN resolutions that were passed on Syria due to the intransigence of the Assad regime and its refusal to engage seriously in the negotiating process.”
Steifo pointed out that the Assad regime is seeking an all-out military victory to impose its conditions as it still refuses to implement UN resolutions calling for the formation of the Transitional Government Body (TGB) whose task will be the drafting of a new constitution and the holding of elections. He stressed that this completely contravenes provisions of international resolutions that stressed that the conflict in Syria should be resolved through political means.
Steifo pointed out that the lack of progress in the negotiating process has opened the way for the convening of many conferences and meetings, adding that all attention today is focused on the upcoming Sochi conference which is sponsored by Moscow.
The Syrian opposition does not have enough information about the Sochi conference, either regarding the agenda, the invitees, or even the role of the United Nations in this conference, Steifo added.
Dima Moussa, member of the Coalition's Department of Foreign Affairs, pointed out that no progress has yet been achieved in the humanitarian issues, which were transferred to be discussed in the Astana talks. She stressed that the ‘de-escalation zones’ agreement has suffered setbacks that may lead to total collapse of the agreement. She noted hat the Assad regime still refuses to lift sieges, allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need, or release the detainees. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)