Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Salwa Aksoi said that the Coalition and the Syrian Negotiations Commission are making strenuous efforts at the regional and international level to put an end to the daily massacres against civilians in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta.
Aksoi said that the Coalition sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to warn of the dire consequences of the ongoing onslaught on eastern Ghouta by the Assad regime and its allies.
These continued massacres are clearly aimed at sabotaging and burying the political process, the letter said. The Coalition called on the United Nations to enforce UN Security Council resolutions, most importantly resolutions 2254 and 2139, and to take urgent action to stop the bombings and ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
The Coalition’s political committee on Tuesday held an emergency teleconference with leaders in eastern Ghouta to consult on the recent developments and coordinate efforts at the international level.
Leaders in eastern Ghouta pointed out that the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate, adding that airstrikes by the Assad regime and Russia are deliberately targeting medical facilities and food warehouses with the aim of putting increasing pressure on civilians.
For its part, a delegation of the Syrian Negotiations Commission visited the European Union headquarters in the Belgian capital Brussels and met with the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. Head of the Commission Nasr al-Hariri said that “we have spared no effort to avert the tragedy unfolding in eastern Ghouta,” adding that the Commission communicated with the Russians, the United States, and the European Union to put an end to the onslaught on eastern Ghouta.
Hariri pointed out that the sieges Assad regime imposes on eastern Ghouta and other areas across Syria are aimed at breaking the will of the Syrian people by putting the civilian population in front of two choices: kneel or starve!
Towns and villages of eastern Ghouta have been coming under large-scale onslaught by regime forces and their allies claiming the lives of hundreds of civilians and wounding hundreds more in the last three days. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
An official in the Syrian Coalition said that the international community’s response the massacres being committed against civilians in eastern Ghouta "has been largely lukewarm and does not correspond with the size of the bloodshed in the Damascus suburb. He warned that these lukewarm positions risk encouraging the Assad regime and its allies to repeat the tragedy of Aleppo.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee Safwan Jandali said that "the positions and statements recently issued by European and UN officials in response to the recent developments in eastern Ghouta and which did not explicitly condemn the Assad regime "will fall short of stopping the killing of innocent civilians or deterring the murderous Assad regime.”
Jandali added that "these statements are of limited impact and does not correspond to the level of bloodshed in eastern Ghouta." He called on the international community to take “more effective and urgent measures to force the Assad regime to stop its crimes."
The EU’s High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides called on the international community to unite to stop the human suffering in eastern Ghouta.
“The European Union calls on all parties to the conflict, as well as the guarantors of the four De-Escalation Areas, to take all necessary measures to ensure the decrease of violence, the protection of the Syrian people by respecting International Humanitarian Law, and urgent humanitarian access,” Stylianides said in a statement Monday.
"The recent escalation of violence compounds an already precarious humanitarian situation," Panos Moumtzis, the UN's regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria crisis, said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The humanitarian situation of civilians in East Ghouta is spiraling out of control. It's imperative to end this senseless human suffering now. Such targeting of innocent civilians and infrastructure must stop now."
Deputy UN envoy to Syria Ramzi Ezzedine Ramzi warned that the continuation of fighting in Syria risks enabling terrorist groups to reorganize and re-mobilize their forces.
"Even in the ‘de-escalation zones’ we observe the continuation of heavy fighting," Ramzi said, noting that around 1,000 civilians were killed during the first week of February alone.
Eastern Ghouta has been subjected to intensifying attacks by regime forces and their allies which compounded the suffering of civilians resulting from the siege imposed on the area for over five years. International watchdog groups confirmed that these attacks constitute war crimes. (Source: Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)
The Syrian Coalition stressed that the military escalation in many areas across Syria, especially in eastern Ghouta is clearly aimed at undermining all chances of reaching a political solution. It stressed that there is no denying the fact that Russia wants to bury the UN-led political process altogether.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Coalition said that Russia wants to finish off the UN-led political process, especially after it announced that it supplied regime forces with new sophisticated weapons to use them in the ongoing onslaught on eastern Ghouta.
“The onslaught on eastern Ghouta represents a dangerous escalation, with the Assad regime and the Russian occupation aircraft launching over 70 airstrikes and dropping 25 barrel bombs as well as targeting residential neighborhoods with more than 150 Grad rockets, six surface-to-surface missiles, and a barrage of artillery fire,” the Coalition said.
The Coalition emphasized that “the latest developments are more than enough to alarm sponsors of the political solution who are watching idly by. They must also draw the attention of the countries claiming to stand on the side of the Syrian people and requires immediate, firm stances from these countries.”
“The genocidal war and barbaric aggression would not have taken place against people of eastern Ghouta had it not been for the silence of the international community and sponsors of the political solution. This silence represents a green light encouraging the Assad regime and its allies to carry on with these atrocious crimes. The international community’s choosing to watch idly by makes it a partner in the aggression on the Syrian people.”
The Coalition warned all members of the international community of the direct consequences of their continued silence and inaction, chiefly among them is the undermining of all chances of reaching a political solution in Syria.”
The Coalition called upon the UN Security Council to take urgent, serious action to protect 400,000 civilians who have been trapped for five years in eastern Ghouta and to act in accordance with its legal, political and moral responsibilities.
The Assad regime, backed by the Russian occupation forces and Iranian militias, has unleashed a large-scale terrorist ground attack on the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta. Airstrikes killed at least 115 people in the past two days while dozens went missing. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Dozens of civilians were killed and wounded in relentless bombardment by regime forces and their allied Iranian militias on the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta in the past 24 hours. Local activists said that the Assad regime brought in new reinforcements in preparation for a ground attack on the besieged Damascus suburb.
Activists in the town of Misraba in eastern Ghouta said that five civilians were killed and 10 others injured in rocket shelling by the Assad regime forces on the town. The shelling directly targeted residential areas in the center of the town, causing damage to residential buildings.
Douma Coordination Committee said on its Facebook page that Assad regime forces bombed the area separating the towns of Ash'ari and Shifounya on Sunday, killing four civilians and injuring many others. It added that three more civilians were killed in similar attacks on the town of Otaya, two others in the town Saqba, and one civilian in the town of Muhammadiyah.
Activists said that a baby girl died because of lack of food and medicine resulting from the siege imposed on civilians by Assad's forces and the Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps.
The Syrian Coalition earlier warned of the consequences of the international community’s continued ignoring of these atrocities, including the collapse of the political process unless deterrent measures are taken to stop the Assad regime’s crimes.
An independent rights watchdog said that it recorded an upsurge in civilian casualties in Syria in the past three months as the Assad regime and its allies continue to wage ferocious bombing campaigns in different parts of Syria.
In a report issued on Friday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that Assad regime forces committed at least 40 massacres in eastern Ghouta claiming the lives of 729 civilians in the past three months. The victims included 185 children, 109 women, seven civil defense workers, 10 medical workers, and two media activists.
The Network pointed out that Assad's forces are responsible for the death of 697 civilians, including 177 children, 96 women, six civil defense workers, 10 medical workers, and one media activist.
The Russian forces killed 32 civilians, including eight children, 13 women, and one civil defense workers in three massacres, the monitoring group added.
Residents of eastern Ghouta have been suffering dire humanitarian conditions a result of the tightened siege imposed on the area by the Assad regime and its allies for over five years. Amnesty international earlier said that regime forces used internationally banned weapons in populated areas constituting war crimes. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr Hariri, attributed the problem in Syria to the brutal practices of the Assad regime against civilians which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and the displacement of millions.
Speaking in the final day of the 54th Munich Security Conference on Sunday, Hariri stressed that discussions in the conference had largely ignored the root cause of the conflict in Syria, which he considered the heart of the problems of the Middle East.
Hariri highlighted the dire humanitarian situation in Syria resulting from the intensifying military attacks on Syrian cities and towns by the Assad regime and its allies. He said that that the Assad regime has repeatedly used internationally banned weapons, such as chemical weapons.
The problem in Syria is in the regime that killed half a million people, mostly civilians, and displaced 11 million more, Hariri stressed.
Hariri reiterated the Syrian Negotiations Commission commitment to political solution in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254 to reach a political solution meeting the aspirations of the Syrian people. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition’s political committee stressed the need for all forces of the revolution to unite against the challenges laying ahead and stick to the fundamental principles of the Syrian revolution and its goals for freedom and dignity as well as the establishment of a pluralistic democratic system of rule.
Members of the political committee met with representatives of a number of the revolution institutions and movements, local councils, and head of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) and its ministers in the Turkish city of Gaziantep.
The committee’s members also met with the newly elected presidential body of the Syrian Turkmen Council to discuss the common political vision for the future of Syria. Members of the committee stressed that the Turkmen Council is an integral part of the Syrian National Coalition.
The committee’s members also met with the FSA chiefs of staff and the Syrian National Army to discuss the latest developments in Operation Olive Branch. The committee reiterated its full support for the operation and the need to defeat all terrorist groups and protect civilians.
SIG’s ministers provided a detailed explanation of the projects and activities the ministries are carrying out in various areas across Syria to provide essential services to the civilian population.
Moreover, the committee’s members pointed out that the recent military escalation by the Assad regime and its allies in a number of areas across Syria and their targeting of civilians and infrastructure are aimed at putting pressure on the Syrian revolution and the opposition’s negotiating delegation in Geneva and forcing them to make concessions in favor of the dictatorial Assad regime.
The members also stressed that the will of the Syrian people and the enormous sacrifices they are making to bring about full political transition in Syria cannot be ignored. They stressed that the Assad regime has become part of the past as they emphasized the need for everyone to unite in order to beat off the challenges posed by the current stage. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission Nasr al-Hariri said that the Commission intends to hold a workshop in its office in Geneva, Switzerland, with the aim of discussing the constitutional process within the framework of political transition as was stipulated in UN Security Council resolution 2254.
In a statement issued on Friday, Hariri said that the workshop would be held as soon as possible. He said that the move comes as part of the Commission’s efforts to ensure the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2254 in the UN-led political process to bring about a political transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people.
Hariri pointed out that participants in the workshop would include members of the Constitutional Committee which was formed within the Commission headed by Nashat Taaima as well as Arab and international experts. He emphasized that the workshop would discuss all issues related to the requirements of the constitutional process now and in the future.
Hariri stressed that the work of the workshop has nothing to do whatsoever with the outcome of the Sochi conference. He pointed out that the workshop is a follow-up to the work of the Constitutional Committee which began a year ago to reach the best formula that serves the political transition process in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2254.
A delegation of the Syrian Negotiations Commission headed by Hariri arrived in the German city of Munich on Thursday to participate in the Munich Security Conference. The delegation will meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday.
The meeting with the UN chief will discuss key issues in Syria, most importantly the Assad regime’s military escalation in northern rural Homs, eastern Ghouta, Idlib and Aleppo. It will also address other key issues such as the issue of detainees and the latest briefing by the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura to the UN Security Council. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
An official in the Syrian Coalition said that the inability of the international community to stop attacks by the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies on civilians in Syria represents a total disgrace to the international community and risks undermining its credibility and confidence.
Secretary of the Coalition’s political committee Mohammed Yahya Maktabi said that the response of international officials to the situation in Syria does not correspond with the size of responsibility placed on the UN and its institutions in the protection of civilians in times of war and crisis.
The political committee on Thursday convened in the Turkish city of Gaziantep to discuss the latest field and political developments. It reiterated calls on the international community to hold accountable those responsible for the repeated use of poison gas. It strongly condemned all crimes being committed by the Assad regime against civilians.
Maktabi pointed out that the international officials’ continued throwing of blame on all parties in Syria and their equating between the criminal and the victim is immoral. He stressed the need for the UN to assume its responsibilities and condemn the attacks by regime forces and their allied foreign as major war crimes that violate International law and international humanitarian law.
Many areas across Syria have been subjected to an unprecedented military escalation claiming the lives of hundreds of people and wounding thousands more. The attacks also caused widespread destruction to infrastructure and health facilities.
Meanwhile, the Union of Free Syrian Doctors held a sit-in in front of the rubble of a hospital in eastern Ghouta on Wednesday to condemn the international silence about the Assad regime’s massacres in which it used internationally banned weapons and poisonous chlorine gas. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission Nasr al-Hariri and accompanying delegation met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the Jordanian capital Amman on Wednesday.
Hariri stressed the need for a firm international stance towards the Assad regime's repeated use of chemical weapons and for confronting Iran’s growing influence in Syria.
In a statement released following the meeting, the Commission said that the meeting came “amidst agreement on majority of the core issues in Syrian.”
Hariri warned that the Syrian people are losing faith in the negotiating process because of the intransigence of the Assad regime and its obstruction of efforts to find a political solution. He stressed that "the integrity of Syrian territory is a concern for all Syrians."
Hariri also stressed that the implementation of UN resolutions regrading a political transition is the guarantor of the sustainability of the political process and the achievement of its goals. He also underscored the need for “real support for the Syrian opposition which is showing full cooperation and responding positively with the efforts of the international community."
For his part, Tillerson expressed his country's readiness to cooperate with the Commission to push the political process forward. He also stressed the need for Russian cooperation for the success of the political process by bringing the Assad regime to the negotiating table and the need for Iran to stop its military and political interference in Syria.
According to the Commission’s statement, Tillerson said that Washington is working seriously with Moscow on confidence-building measures in line with UN resolutions to address the issue of detainees and ensure humanitarian access to the besieged areas.
He pointed out that the United States is seeking to restart the political process, praising the Commission’s serious efforts to find a solution that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people. Tillerson stressed that the reconstruction process in Syria is contingent on the success of the political process and the creation of a neutral environment.
At the end of the meeting, the two sides agreed to continue consultations and hold more technical meetings to secure real support for the Syrian opposition that is needed to help reach a political solution; stop the deterioration of the overall situation in Syria; and bring about a political transition in accordance with UN resolutions. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)
Officials in the Syrian Coalition warned that the ceasefire agreements in Syria are at risk of total collapse as they stressed that Russia bears full responsibility for the consequences.
The remarks were made during a teleconference between members of the Coalition’s political committee and civil and military leaders in rural Hama and rural Homs. Both sides discussed the latest field developments and the intensifying onslaught on Syrian civilians by the Assad regime forces and their allied Iranian militias.
Representatives of northern rural Homs expressed concern about possible military action against civilians in the area. They pointed out that the Assad regime did not abide by the ‘de-escalation zones’ agreement as it continued to impose siege on the area. Participants also discussed the dire humanitarian conditions in the towns of Houla and Talbeesah.
A Representative of rural Hama said that the regime’s shelling was affecting the displaced people and civilians who were already suffering lack of the most basic necessities. He pointed out that the area straddling northern rural Homs and southern rural Hama is home to around 50,000 people who have been trapped for four years and suffer from poor living conditions.
Members of the political committee said that reaching a ceasefire is the first step on the road to political solution, warning of the total collapse of the political process should bombings and violations continued.
Members of the committee held Russia fully responsible as it claims to play the role of guarantor of the regime, calling on the international community and the United Nations to assume their full responsibilities towards civilians. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)