The Syrian Coalition’s General Assembly concluded its 37th regular meeting on Sunday. It strongly condemned the brutal massacres being committed by the Assad regime and its allies against Syrian civilians.
The General Assembly stressed the need for the international community to urgently intervene to stop the brutal attacks on Syrian civilians, especially in Idlib, Hama and eastern Ghouta. Members of the Assembly agreed to communicate with the concerned countries to ensure the full implementation of the ceasefire agreement as the starting point for reaching any political solution.
The members reaffirmed commitment to the UN-led Geneva negotiations as the natural track for a political solution. It stressed it will continue efforts with the international organizations and other parties, especially the United States, to assume their hoped-for role in exerting pressure on the Assad regime to force it to abide by international resolutions on Syria and initiate the formation of a Transitional Governing Body (TGB) and a transitional phase as well as the institutions that will emerge from them.
After extensive discussions, the General Assembly reaffirmed support for the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) as part of the Coalition and its executive arm inside Syrian territory. It stressed it will continue to seek support and funding for SIG from friendly countries and other donors. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
A delegation of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, headed by Nasr Hariri, on Monday met with the European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and with Head of the Middle East Unit in the European Commission Michael Miller.
The meetings came as part of a visit by the Commission to the European Union. The two sides exchanged views on the latest developments in Syria, especially with regards to the humanitarian aspect.
Both sides stressed that the Assad regime should not be allowed to take on the distribution of EU aid deliveries inside Syria and the need to deliver humanitarian aid to those in need and in besieged areas.
Hariri urged the European Union representative to convey the details of the suffering of Syrian civilians as a result of bombing and siege by the Assad regime, Russia and the Iranian militias to the EU member states. He also urged the EU to take the necessary measures to put an end to the atrocities being committed by the Assad regime and its allies against the Syrian people.
Mogherini stressed that the EU sanctions on the Assad regime will not be lifted before political transition in Syria is achieved and UN Security Council resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 are fully implemented. She recommended the participation of civil society groups in the Brussels conference due to be held in April. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Negotiations Commission accused the Assad regime of assassinating Mounir Darwish, one of its members as it called on the UN and human rights organizations to conduct an international investigation into the incident.
The Commission said in a statement that Darwish was hit by a car in front of his house in Damascus on Friday evening and was liquidated while he was being hospitalized.
The Commission offered condolences to Darwish’s family as it called on international bodies, particularly the United Nations and human rights organizations, to conduct a transparent investigation into the assassination of Darwish.
The Commission reaffirmed is firm commitment to “our steadfast people inside Syria and in the diaspora” as it stressed it would follow in the footsteps of “our fallen heroes in the struggle to achieve the objectives of the Syrian people in freedom and dignity."
“We hold the tyrannical Assad regime Darwish responsible for the death of Darwish," the Commission added. It called on the Syrian people to “carry on with the struggle to establish a free, safe and democratic country where there is no place for the criminal Assad regime which brought destruction and occupation to Syria."
The 37th meeting of the Syrian Coalition’s General Assembly began in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Saturday.
Members of the General Assembly will convene for two days and will discuss the latest field developments in Syria, especially the heinous massacres being committed against civilians in Idlib province and the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta.
Tabled for discussions are also the latest political developments, especially the Geneva process and the upcoming new round of negotiations.
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Rahman Mustafa said that massacres being committed against Syrian civilians are part of the military strategy being pursued by the Assad regime and its allies to impose a solution contradicting all international resolutions on Syria.
Mustafa called upon the international community, led by the United States, to assume their role in protecting civilians and stopping the daily massacres against them. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition said that Minister of Health in the Syrian Interim Government Mohammed Firas al-Jundi was injured and his driver, Hussam al-Mandil, was killed in airstrikes on the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'man in rural Idlib on Thursday.
In a press release issued on Thursday, the Coalition condemned “the crime of targeting the Minister” and said that the “crime comes in the context of the intensifying onslaughts being carried out by regime forces backed by the Russian occupation forces and the Iranian militias in Idlib province and eastern Ghouta. The onslaughts have left dozens of civilian casualties and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.”
The Coalition said that criminal attack deliberately targeted the Minister and his aids shortly after they came back from carrying out tasks related to their work.
The Coalition extended its “heartfelt condolences to the family of Mandil and all the families who lost their loved ones at the hands of the Assad regime and its backers. We wish the Minister speedy recovery and that he resumes the carrying out of his duties and his role in the service of his countrymen.”
In 2016, SIG’s Minister of Local Administration Ya'qub al-Ammar was killed in a terrorist attack in the town of Inkhil in rural Dara’a during the opening ceremony of a police station. The attack killed 11 another people and injured many others, including Minister of Economy Abudlhakeem Al-Masri. . (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
An official in the Syrian Coalition stressed that Russia and Iran are not committed to international resolutions on Syria, adding that they are partners in all the crimes the Assad regime is committing against Syrian civilians.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee Okab Yahya said that Moscow is exploiting the inaction of the world community to unilaterally impose its agenda for solution in Syria.
Okab was speaking during a meeting that was co-organized by the Parties Committee and the Coalition’s representation office in the Turkish city of Mersin with Syrian political bodies. Around 40 people attended the meeting.
Member of the Coalition, Fadi Ibrahim, gave an overview of the Coalition's plans to reach out to the political opposition forces with the aim of working out an appropriate formula that includes the various Syrian activities in Turkey. The plans also include preparations for the holding of extensive consultative meetings paving the way for the holding of an expanded conference of the Syrian revolutionary and opposition forces.
The meeting also discussed the latest political developments and the challenges ahead. Tabled for discussions was also the eighth round of negotiations in Geneva and their outcome as well as the performance of the Syrian Negotiations Commission and its efforts to lay out unanimous positions and attitudes.
At the end of the meeting, participants agreed on the formation of a seven-member committee whose task will be to consult with the Coalition’s political committee about all the political and field developments. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Riad Seif and members of the political committee met with Martin Longden, Great Britain’s special envoy to Syria on Monday evening. Both sides discussed the Assad regime and allies’ daily massacres against civilians in Idlib and Ghouta as well as the latest developments of the political process.
Seif said that the information being circulated about the planned Sochi conference suggests that the conference would not serve the political process. He stressed that any solution that involves Assad’s survival in power will not restore stability to the country or the region.
Seif said that the Syrian people will not accept Assad's survival, stressing that for Syrians this issue is unthinkable. He wondered: Is accepting Assad's survival logical or even moral?
Seif pointed out that Moscow failed to apply enough leverage on the Assad regime or force it to engage in serious negotiations in Geneva. "On the contrary, Russia stands by the Assad regime and supports its ongoing military operations against civilians and the FSA forces in Idlib and the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta.”
For his part, Longden reaffirmed his country's continued support for the Syrian opposition, stressing the need for the Syrian opposition to set out a unified position towards the Russian-proposed Sochi conference and all other issues. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
A Syrian Negotiation Commission delegation led by Nasr al-Hariri met with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, Security Council and General Assembly Ambassadors and UN officials in New York on Monday.
Hariri set out the dangers with the Sochi process as it stands – “that it risks undermining the Geneva process and the goal of transition set out in the Geneva Communique and resolution 2254.”
“There is a political process, it is in Geneva and it’s not working because the regime refuses to negotiate. A parallel process will not change that reality and in fact risks emboldening the regime and its commitment to a military strategy,” Hariri added. He cited the massacres the Assad regime and its allies are committing against civilians in Idlib and eastern Ghouta.
Hariri urged the international community, especially the UK and the US, to “help change the dynamic by working with allies to put pressure on the regime to negotiate at Geneva and apply real pressure on the regime and its backers to bring it to the negotiating table. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Activists said the Assad regime and Russian jets bombed towns and villages of eastern Ghouta on Friday, killing and injuring a number of civilians.
The Sharia Committee in eastern Ghouta announced that Friday prayers would not be held in the area for fear of the continued bombardment. "Due to the deteriorating situation in eastern Ghouta resulting from the Assad regime’s deliberate targeting of residential areas, including mosques, Friday prayers will not be held today," the Committee said in a statement.
Local activists said that bombardment further intensified on Harasta, adding that regime forces hit the town with over 60 ‘elephant rockets’ and more than 300 artillery shells. The rest of eastern Ghouta was bombed by warplanes, resulting in the death of 30 people and the injury of dozens more.
The Syrian Coalition said that the Assad regime exploits the continued failure of the international community to adopt a position that corresponds with the responsibilities entrusted to it.
In a press release issued on Thursday, the Coalition warned of the consequences of the “continued negative attitude of the international community towards these crimes and its failure to take action to stop the crimes being carried out by the regime and its allies against the Syrian people, including the use of barrel bombs, cluster bombs and chemical weapons such as chlorine gas.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Russia has expanded its military operations in Damascus and its suburbs as well as in Idlib province, resulting in dozens of civilian deaths and knocking a hospital in rural Idlib out of service.
Local news networks said that airstrikes by the Assad regime killed 18 people in the town of Misraba and six others in the town of Irbeen in eastern Ghouta on Wednesday. Two children and a woman were killed in similar attacks on the town of Beit Sawa in eastern Ghouta.
Regime forces also bombed the towns of Ayn Tarma, Hazza and Otaya in eastern Ghouta, injuring more than 15 civilians.
Activists in Idlib province said that Russian jets continue to carry out airstrikes in the province. They said that the airstrikes killed at least eight people and destroyed large parts of a hospital in the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'man and a bakery in the town of Saraqib, putting them out of service.
The Syrian Coalition condemned the continued airstrikes and artillery shelling on southern rural Idlib by regime forces and their allied Iranian militias and the Russian occupation warplanes.
“The bombing campaign in Idlib, now in its third week, continues to target civilians and commit war crimes in violation of all agreements reached in Syria,” said the Coalition in a press release issued on Thursday.
“The Assad regime and its allies are exploiting the silence of the international community and its failure to shoulder its responsibilities towards the protection of civilians and the maintaining of peace and security.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)