Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr al-Hariri, said that the Idlib agreement represented an important turning point in the Syrian issue as it shattered the Assad regime's dreams of a military victory and boosted prospects for a comprehensive political solution leading to political transition in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and the UN Security Council resolution 2254.
The Idlib agreement between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin has averted a potential offensive by the Assad regime and Iranian terrorist militias against Idlib province.
"The turning point in the Idlib issue was that it represented a challenge to the will of the Assad regime and its allies’ continued reliance on a military solution," Hariri said in comments on Twitter on Saturday. "The agreement has effectively shattered the Assad regime's dream of regaining complete military control and achieving a military victory over the Syrian revolution and the Syrian issue in general.”
Hariri said that “the situation in Idlib today is reassuring. We are working with friends in Turkey and with the international actors to maintain this sense of reassurance and comfort as a starting point towards a comprehensive political solution leading to a political transition in Syria.”
Earlier this week, the delegation of the Free Syrian Army and rebel groups to Astana announced that they fully implemented the Idlib Agreement, stressing that the region has become safe from the attacks by the Assad regime and its allies. They noted that the move would likely open the way for reaching a nationwide cease-fire and the restart of the political process in accordance with international resolutions.
The FSA delegation stressed that the agreement prevented the regime from returning to the region before agreeing on comprehensive political solution under which the regime of tyranny will be eliminated and a transition is being made to a just, democratic system and a civil state in which all Syrians live with freedom and dignity. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition, Abdul Basit Hamou, said that the Assad regime’s delaying of the sending of aid convoys to Al-Rukban refugee camp will put the lives of more civilians at risk, stressing that this delay is a blatant violation of human rights and classified as war crimes.
In a special statement on Thursday, Hamou described the reports coming from Al-Rukban refugee camp as "horrifying and shocking" as he called on the United Nations to take urgent action to deliver humanitarian and medical aid to the people trapped in the camp.
Hamou pointed out that the Assad regime adopts this tactic in a flagrant attempt to force the people to submit to its conditions through siege and starvation. He added that the Assad regime has pursued this tactic in utter disregard for the UN Security Council resolutions. He attributed this to the UN’s failure to put an end to the crimes of the regime from the very beginning.
The situation in Al-Rukban refugee camp is rapidly deteriorating, especially with the presence of tens of thousands of displaced persons and thousands of disabilities, including 1,460 women, 1,621 men and 4273 children, according to the management of the camp.
Hamou called on the international relief organizations to save the children as they are "the most vulnerable." He said: "They are waiting for someone to save them from the starvation being carried out by the Assad regime against them and their families."
Hamou also called on the international community to "act urgently" and ratchet up pressure on the Assad regime to end the blockade on the camp and allow unfettered access for aid convoys. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Coalition’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Abdul Ahad Steifo, said that the United States has begun playing a new role in Syria, noting that this role will be important to push the political process ahead and rebalance it in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2254. This process is aimed at building a stable, safe state that is free from the Assad regime and the Iranian terrorist militias.
Steifo on Wednesday pointed out that the Syrian Coalition “felt seriousness on the part of Washington about the reinvigoration of the political process and the start of the work of the Constitutional Committee under the UN auspices. The Coalition met with the United States Special Envoy for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey and an accompanying delegation at the headquarters of the Coalition on Tuesday.
Steifo lauded the visit by the US official. He said: "It was an important meeting during which we got ideas from the US administration regarding Syria. We also outlined our vision of the political process and elaborated the risks facing it.”
Moreover, Steifo pointed out that the Coalition stressed the need to support the Idlib agreement and to develop it to reach a nationwide cease-fire during the meeting. He also underscored the need to benefit from the meeting to relaunch a sustained political process in accordance with the Geneva Communique and UN Security Council resolution 2254. He also stressed the need to discuss the rest of the four baskets, which also includes the basket of governance as crucial to bring about a comprehensive political transition in the country.
Steifo went on to say that the meeting also discussed the war crimes taking place in Syria, including the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons, the brutal murder of tens of thousands in its prisons, the mass forced displacement and demographic change, and the indiscriminate attacks on civilians using prohibited weapons with the support of the Iranian terrorist militias.
Steifo underscored that the withdrawal of the Iranian militias from Syria will open the way to restore stability to Syria and all countries of the region. He pointed out that the Iranian presence in Syria has had a disastrous consequences leading to tragic events affecting peoples of the region. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
A senior delegation from the Syrian Coalition headed by President Abdurrahman Mustafa on Tuesday met with the United States’ Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey and his accompanying delegation. Both sides discussed the implementation of the Idlib Agreement and the importance of protecting civilians and the reinvigoration of the UN-led political process.
President Mustafa reaffirmed the Coalition’s commitment to supporting the UN-led efforts in Syria. He said: "We supported the decision of the Syrian Negotiations Commission to engage positively in the work of the constitutional committee to be formed by the United Nations."
President Mustafa stressed that the work of the constitutional committee under the auspices of the United Nations is an integral part of the constitutional process. He pointed out that its results will boost the negotiating process, stressing the need to launch the work on the four baskets concurrently and ensure progress in the baskets of governance, political transition, and elections.
With regards to the Idlib agreement, President Mustafa said that the agreement is a positive step, praising the important role of Turkey in the agreement and the strong international position supporting it. He expressed his hope that the international community will contribute to the development of the Idlib agreement to reach a nationwide ceasefire. He noted that during his recent visit to the buffer zone, he saw how “our fighters were on full alert to repel any Assad regime attempt to attack the province.”
The Syrian Coalition “expects from our friends further political and diplomatic moves towards engaging in an integrated political process leading to the realization of the demands and aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom and dignity."
President Mustafa underscored the need to give priority to detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime. He said: "We cannot accept their use as a bargaining chip. This is a humanitarian issue that should not be subject to negotiation. The silence on the Assad regime’s crimes and violations must come to an end. We hope that steps would be taken to stop the torture and death in the prisons of the Assad regime and save the remaining detainees as soon as possible.”
Furthermore, President Mustafa called for accountability for all war crimes, including crimes resulting from the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons and mass forced displacement. He also called for a tougher stance against the Assad regime, stressing that “it is the responsibility of everyone to stop these violations.”
He also stressed the need for an increased international momentum on Syria to pave the way for comprehensive political transition; the implementation of international resolutions on political transition; and the formation of a transitional governing body. He also underscored the need to ratchet up pressure on the Assad regime to honor its political obligations in accordance with the Geneva Communique and UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
As for Al-Rukban camp, President Mustafa Coalition called for an end to the blockade imposed by the regime on the camp and the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians trapped inside. "It is a pressing issue and we hope that aid will reach them as soon as possible," he said.
He also stressed that reconstruction does not mean stability, but is linked to the elimination of terrorist militias and holding those involved in war crimes to account.
"The Syrian people still nourish hope that the international community will provide the appropriate environment to help them achieve their aspirations for freedom and dignity. The international will should remain steadfast in holding war criminals accountable and not allowing them to continue these despicable acts with impunity."
For his part, the US envoy reasserted his country’s continued commitment to a political solution in Syria in line with the UN Security Council resolution 2254. He emphasized that this solution must lead to a safe, stable, and pluralistic Syria, adding that it must not be a state sponsor of terrorism threatening its neighbors and must get rid of the Iranian-led militias.
Jeffrey also reaffirmed full support for the UN Security Council resolution 2254 and the efforts of the UN Special Envoy to Syrian Staffan de Mistura to establish the Constitutional Committee as soon as possible.
Jeffrey pointed out that Washington considers that any military attack on Idlib would represent a reckless escalation in Syria and the region and will endanger the lives of Syrian civilians and destroy civilian infrastructure. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The delegation of the Free Syrian Army and rebel groups to Astana announced that they fully implemented the Idlib Agreement, stressing that the region has become safe from the attacks by the Assad regime and its allies. The move will likely open the way for reaching a nationwide cease-fire and the restart of the political process in accordance with international resolutions.
In a press conference in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Monday, head of the FSA delegation to Astana, Ahmed Tomah, said that the Idlib agreement "is proceeding in accordance with what has been established. The region is now safe in every sense of the word." He called on civilians to live their normal lives and ignore the Assad regime's threats that it will recapture Idlib province.
Tomah said that efforts to reorganize the Free Syrian Army and incorporate all rebel groups under its umbrella "are in full swing with the aim of protecting the revolution and squashing rumors about surrendering the area.” He urged the rebel groups to abide by the terms of the agreement as he lauded their withdrawal of heavy weapons from the buffer zone without any delay.
Tomah also stressed that the agreement prevented the regime from returning to the region before agreeing on comprehensive political solution under which the regime of tyranny is being eliminated and a transition is being made to a just, democratic system and a civil state in which all Syrians live with freedom and dignity.
Moreover, Tomah pointed out that the time has come to start the establishment of a civil administration that will be tasked with serving civilians and providing them with a stable living, good education and a distinctive healthcare as well as good infrastructure. He pointed out that this will make the region an example to be followed and will prove to the world that Syrians are capable of making miracles and advancing their society once they regain their freedom. "
Tomah thanked Turkey and its people "who stood by their Syrian brethren in times of hardship. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
A delegation from the Syrian Coalition headed by Abdurrahman Mustafa held several meetings with ambassadors and international officials in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Friday. The meetings discussed the Idlib Agreement and the role that the international community should play in developing it to establish a nationwide ceasefire and reinvigorate the political process leading to the realization of the Syrian people's demands for freedom and dignity.
The Coalition’s delegation met with ambassadors of the European Union countries to Ankara, ambassadors of the friendly countries, including the United States, the European Union Ambassador Christian Berger and his political team, and Erdem Ozan of the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
The Coalition’s delegation included Coordinator of the Department of Foreign Relations Abdul Ahad Steifo, official spokesman Anas Al-Abdah, and member of the General Assembly Basma Mohammed.
President Mustafa said that a Coalition delegation toured the buffer zone in Idlib stressed that the Idlib agreement has averted a tragedy that would have been resulted from a possible attack by the Assad regime and its allies on the province. He stressed that the agreement also prevented a new large wave of refugees to the European countries.
Moreover, President Mustafa urged support for the Syrian Interim Government and the local councils to consolidate the civil administration in the region as it would contribute to the dissolving of terrorist groups and the reduction of their influence. He added: "Addressing the issue of terrorism is the responsibility of the international community. Everyone has a responsibility to contribute to the defeat of terror at all levels, including through the provision of support for the civilian population and improving their living conditions to keep them away from extremism.”
President Mustafa cited the recent revival of the civil movement in northern Syria as one of the positive results of the Idlib agreement, calling for international support for the agreement.
He pointed out that the Idlib agreement is not temporary as is being claimed by the regime because it is linked to the success of the political process. He also called for contributing to develop the agreement and establish a nationwide cease-fire.
Furthermore, President Mustafa underscored the need to reinvigorate the political process and exert pressure on the regime to force it to seriously engage in the political process. He called on the European Union to put greater pressure on Iran, stressing that "reconstruction does not mean stability but is linked to the elimination of terrorist militias and holding those involved in war crimes to account.
President Mustafa also stressed that the Syrian Coalition and the Free Syrian Army groups still have concerns about the Assad regime and its allies. "There is no confidence. Past experience showed how the Assad regime reneged all previous agreements. Our fighters are ready on the battlefronts to defend themselves and civilians." (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition called upon the international community to take urgent action to save the displaced people in Al-Rukban camp and to ensure adequate, sustained healthcare. It stressed that real pressure needs to be put on the Assad regime to end the blockade and allow unrestricted, unconditioned humanitarian access.
In a press release issued on Friday, the Coalition said: “The situation in Al-Rukban refugee camp near the Syrian-Jordanian border is rapidly and seriously deteriorating. Some 70,000 Syrian refugees are living in tragic conditions as a result of the blockaded imposed by the Assad regime and its allied militias since last June.”
“Deaths among children have recently increased following the international and local organizations’ suspension of their operations and the Assad regime’s prevention of the introduction of medicines and foodstuffs. The blockade has resulted in severe shortages of food and medical supplies, especially flour and infant formula.”
The Coalition also said that “action needs to be urgently taken to save children living in the camp from the Assad regime’s plans to starve them and their families, especially those who are in urgent need for specialized medical care and surgical operations.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Spokesman for the Syrian Coalition Anas al-Abdah on Thursday said that the interest the Coalition is showing in the implementation of the Idlib agreement stems from the keenness on the safety of civilians and protecting them from any potential military operations by the Assad regime and its allies and the widespread war crimes that accompanied them.
Al-Abdah said that the Syrian Coalition considers "the safety and protection of civilians a top priority," adding that the Assad regime's plans to recapture Idlib "failed drastically and irreversibly."
Moreover, Al-Abdah pointed out that a delegation from the Syrian Coalition toured the buffer zone which was established under the agreement. He said: "As we do not trust the regime, we toured the area and ascertained the readiness of our fighters on the fronts and their preparedness to confront any possible move by regime forces.”
Al-Abdah explained that only heavy weapon were pulled out of the buffer zone as the FSA fighters retained their medium and light arms.
The Coalition is seeking to work with the Turkish authorities, the Syrian Interim Government, and local councils to develop a plan for the establishment of a civil administration and provide better services in the region,” Al-Abdeh said. He added: "We want to address the tragic situation in the region following years of bombardment by the Assad regime which destroyed everything."
Al-Abdah stressed that the plan will involve the rebuilding of state institutions and putting them under the management of the local population. The plan will also make use of the expertise of the forcibly displaced civilians who constitute a sizeable proportion of the population in view of the large-scale demographic changes operations which were carried out by the Assad regime in different areas across Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition, Bader Jamous, condemned the Assad regime’s imposition of blockade around the Rukban refugee camp near the Syrian-Jordanian border and its prevention of the introduction of food and medical supplies. At least 14 people, including four children, has died in recent weeks due to lack of medicine and healthcare in the camp.
The administration of the camp warned that food and medical supplies in the camp will completely run out in a matter of a week or a maximum of ten days should humanitarian access continues to be blocked.
Jamous said that the camp is home to tens of thousands of people who were forcibly displaced from their homes by the Assad regime forces. He added: “Those people chose to live in tents in the desert without any semblance of life only to preserve their dignity and to escape the brutality of the Assad regime.”
“The thugs of Assad and Russia, together with the international community which is complicit in this tragedy, are denying food and medicine to residents of the camp in order to force them to return to the lap of the murderous regime," Jamous said.
Yazan Aliwi, Director of the only clinic in the camp, told Smart News Network that 14 people died due to lack of medical care in the camp, including four children, two women, three men, and five elderly people.
Head of the local council in the camp, Abu Ahmed Derbas al-Khalidi, said that the Assad regime demands that residents of the camp agree to forced settlement agreements and return to the areas under its control. He added that the United Nations "did not lift a finger" to relieve residents of the camp who are suffering increasing shortage of food, especially infant formula.
Nearly 65,000 people currently live in Al-Rukban refugee camp and suffer extremely dire living conditions. The UN Goodwill Ambassador to the Middle East has already appealed to international organizations to urgently respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the camp. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa on Tuesday arrived in northern Syria to visit the demilitarized zone which was established under the Idlib agreement. President Mustafa was accompanied by Secretary General Nazir al-Hakim, Spokesman Anas al-Abdah, and other Coalition members.
President Mustafa stressed that the frontlines with the Assad regime forces and the Iranian terrorist militias did not change nor did they fall back. He explained that only heavy weapons were withdrawn from the demilitarized zone as sides to the agreement can retain their medium and light weapons.
President Mustafa pointed out that he reviewed maps showing the location and boundaries of the buffer zone along with FSA commanders. He said: "We are closely following the situation on the ground, especially the suffering of the civilian population resulting from lack of essential services."
President Mustafa also held several meetings with heads of local councils in the provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Idlib as well as with civil society groups to discuss the challenges facing the region, most importantly ensuring the continued work of local councils in the liberated areas and the provision of services to the civilian population.
Moreover, President Mustafa pointed out that the Coalition and its institutions are seeking to benefit from the Idlib agreement in order to consolidate the civil administration and restart the work of service and administrative institutions. “We are seeking to come closer to the social base of the revolution using all possible means."
“We have a responsibility to provide services and ensure a decent life for civilians in the liberated areas after the implementation of the Idlib agreement which was internationally welcomed as it averted a possible military offensive against civilians in the region.”
He pointed out that the Coalition is taking another action at the political level to benefit from the agreement. He emphasized that this action must open that door to the reinvigoration of the political process to find a comprehensive political solution that meets the Syrian people’s demands for freedom and justice. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)