The Syrian Negotiations Commission said that it discussed the field developments and military escalation by the Assad regime as well its Russian and Iranian allies. It also discussed the catastrophic situation in many areas across Syria resulting from the Assad regime and its allies’ use of various types of internationally banned weapons and their targeting of civilian infrastructure, hospitals and ambulances.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Commission said that it convened a regular meeting in the Saudi capital, Riyadh to review the consultations it made with various international actors to stop the Assad regime’s barbaric attacks on civilians; put an end to its violations of UN resolutions; and its commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Commission pointed out that it also discussed developments of the political process and the course of the intra-Syrian negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations as well as efforts of the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura to set up a Constitutional Committee.
The Commission also assessed the outcome of the contacts and visits it made as part of communications with the international community and Arab states. The Commission said that in all those meetings it reaffirmed that all stages of the negotiating process must remain under the umbrella of the United Nations. It also reasserted commitment to the full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communique of 2012.
Moreover, the Commission said that it discussed all issues related to the negotiating process with the UN envoy’s team. It noted that "members of the Commission raised many questions to members of the delegation of the UN envoy and that both sides exchanged views on the points that needed to be clarified."
The Commission pointed out that the focus was on the main points in the formation of the Constitutional Committee, most notably "the terms of reference, the nature of its components, its powers, and the criteria for selecting the representatives." The Commission concluded its meeting by saying that it “sent clear messages through the delegation to the UN envoy Staffan de Mistura." (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
As many as 3,000 civilians have been killed and injured in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta over the past three months as the assault on the area by the Assad regime and the Iranian-backed militias, backed by Russian aerial support, continues unabated. The relentless bombardment has also destroyed large parts of residential areas in besieged eastern Ghouta.
Local activists said that the Assad regime’s onslaught on eastern Ghouta has killed at least 1,123 civilians since November 14, 2017, adding that the Assad regime and its allies have conducted no fewer than 1,414 airstrikes on the rebel held- suburb, deliberately targeting residential neighborhoods.
According to figures local activists published on Sunday, the Assad regime forces and their allied foreign militias have targeted eastern Ghouta with more than 10,825 artillery and mortar shells as well as 1,935 surface-to-surface rockets since November 14. Activist said that the suburb was hit with over 47 rockets loaded with internationally banned cluster munitions, 39 explosive hoses, 15 which were stuffed with chlorine gas, and 13 napalm-filled bombs.
The Syrian Coalition earlier warned that any further military escalation by the Assad regime would inevitably result in the collapse of the political process. It called on the international community to urgently intervene to stop these barbaric attacks on Syrian civilians through reining in the Assad regime and its backers.
The Coalition stressed that “the utter silence by the international community and sponsors of the political solution over these barbaric attacks and the massacres resulted from them is tantamount to giving a green light to the perpetrators to carry on with their crimes. This silence also represents, in the eyes of the Syrian people, complicity in the aggression against them.”
Activists in Douma said that five civilians were killed in Assad regime airstrikes on the district on Sunday. They added that two civilians were killed in rocket and artillery shelling by regime forces on the district of Hammouriya, while a farmer was killed by regime forces’ sniper fire in the outskirts of the district of Kafarbatna.
The International Humanitarian Relief (IHR) aid group on Saturday said that up to 10,400 families in eastern Ghouta are in urgent need for humanitarian intervention. It warned that about 12.6 percent of the total population of the Damascus suburb have been affected at all levels by the intensified bombing campaign the Assad regime and its allies have unleashed in eastern Ghouta over the past three months.
The NGO said that more than 4,100 families currently live in underequipped cellars with poor hygiene causing the spread of many diseases, especially among children. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee, Salah al-Din al-Hamawi, said the Syrian people have been disappointed by the failure of the UN Security Council to agree on a temporary truce in Syria that is needed to put an end to the killings and crimes being committed by Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. He noted that that these crimes have sharply increased following the failure of the Sochi Conference.
The UN Security Council once again failed to agree on declaration of a humanitarian truce in Syria. Sweden and Kuwait on Friday presented a draft resolution in light of the rapidly deteriorating situation in several areas across Syria, most notably in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta and rural Idlib.
Al-Hamwi stressed that the UN Security Council’s repeated failure to rein in the Assad and Iranian militias as well as the Russian aggression as well as some Council members’ limiting of their response to mere expressions of sympathy and dissatisfaction have emptied this international organization of its primary purpose which is maintaining international peace and security. He stressed this failure requires a reconsideration of the structure and composition of the UN Security Council as well as the cause of its continued inaction.
The ongoing bombing campaign by the Russian and Assad regime forces has killed over 500 civilians and wounded thousand more as the last week in eastern Ghouta has been described as the deadliest since 2015.
Al-Hamwi noted that the cessation of murder and crimes in Syria could be achieved without the need for a resolution by the UN Security Council which has been disabled by the same side who is committing crimes in Syria provided that there is a will to carry out this noble act, especially on the part of the United States. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
An official in the Syrian Coalition stressed the need for the United Nations to intervene and take a firm action in the Security Council to put an end to the daily massacres the Assad regime and its allies are committing against civilians in Syria.
The official was speaking during meetings held by the Coalition’s Parties Committee with a number of Syria parties and movements in the Turkish city of Gaziantep over the past two days.
The Committee and representatives of the parties and movements discussed the latest field and political developments, especially the military escalation by the Assad regime and the Iranian militias with Russian aerial support. The escalation came after the failure of the Sochi Conference and Assad regime’s blocking of any progress in the political process in Geneva.
Okab Yahya, member of the political committee and coordinator of the Parties Committee, said that the political process is at a crossroads. He stressed the need for the United Nations and major players, especially the United States, to intervene in order to put an end to the "bloodbath" in Syria and help reach a political solution in accordance with international resolutions.
Yahya said that Washington is able to put the political process back on the right track, noting that this requires the US to show seriousness and assume its international responsibilities.
Yahya also stressed the need to boost cooperation between the Coalition and the various parties and movements to reach a common vision supporting the position of the Syrian Negotiations Commission during the negotiations process in Geneva. He pointed out that the Coalition’s political committee is working on a number of files and projects that serve this purpose. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr al-Hariri, stressed that military escalation by the Assad regime in many areas across Syria threatens the political process and puts it in jeopardy.
Hariri was speaking during a meeting with the UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, on Wednesday to discuss the status of the ‘de-escalation zones" agreement in light of the ongoing bombing campaign on Idlib province and eastern Ghouta.
The two sides also discussed "the best ways to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254 so as to bring about a quick political transition that is urgently needed to put an end to the bloodshed in Syria; provide the opportunity for the return of the displaced and refugees to their homes; and pave the way for reconstruction of Syria, said the Commission in remarks it published on its official website.
Hariri stressed that the humanitarian situation has seriously deteriorated in eastern Ghouta. “Rescue teams are almost helpless in the face of relentless bombardment by various highly explosive and internationally banned weapons." He cited the repeated use of chlorine gas, adding that international reports have proven that the Assad regime is employing Iran's arsenal of internationally banned weapons in these attacks.
Local activists said that military escalation by regime forces continues in most Syrian areas, noting that the ‘de-escalation zones’ no longer exist and that the escalating attacks have led to a further increase in the displacement of civilians. . (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition warned that the any further military escalation by the Assad regime would inevitably result in the collapse of the political process. It pointed out that international warnings of the repeated use of chemical weapons had exposed the international community’s inaction and failure amounting to complicity in the crimes being committed against the Syrian people.
The Coalition quoted activists in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta as saying that massacres are being committed against civilians forcing thousands to flee towards relatively safer areas. Local activists said that highly destructive munitions are being used in the bombings which are flatting whole buildings. The relentless bombings have also caused further deterioration of the humanitarian situation.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Coalition called on the international community to intervene immediately to stop this terrorist campaign and rein in the Assad regime and its backers.
“The US administration has recently warned of the use of chemical weapons, apparently unware of the fact that the Assad regime has been using these weapons on an almost daily basis in blatant violation of all international resolutions and the so-called red lines,” the Coalition said.
“Such attacks have also exposed the international community’s inaction and failure amounting to complicity in the crimes being committed against the Syrian people.”
The Coalition went on: “The ongoing onslaught on eastern Ghouta represents a serious escalation of violence as the Assad regime clearly seeks to undermine all chances of political solution at all levels through the relentless bombardment and the trampling of all so-called red lines.”
The Coalition underscored that “these grave developments must not go unnoticed by sponsors of the political solution. Massacres and terrorist attacks on civilians cannot continue side by side with any kind of talks about political solution which itself faces many challenges and obstacles as well as complete absence of seriousness and commitment on the part of the Assad regime.”
The Coalition stressed that “the utter silence by the international community and sponsors of the political solution over these barbaric attacks and the massacres resulted from them is tantamount to giving a green light to the perpetrators to carry on with their crimes. This silence also represents, in the eyes of the Syrian people, complicity in the aggression against them.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Ferocious onslaught by the Assad regime forces and Iranian militias backed by the Russian air force continues to target civilians in many parts across Syria as the UN Security Council failed to adapt a resolution to stop such attacks or to adopt a draft resolution on the use of chemical weapons.
In a press release issued on Monday, the Syrian Coalition called on the UN Security Council to take urgent action to stop the "war crimes and genocide” the Assad regime and Russian forces are committing against the Syrian people."
“The international community is obliged to condemn this criminal campaign and to work at all levels to stop it and protect civilians in Idlib, the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta, and all parts of Syria,” the Coalition added.
Activists in besieged eastern Ghouta said that 40 civilians were killed in airstrikes by the Assad regime and the Russian air forces on Tuesday. Local activist said that the Assad regime and Russian air forces committed four massacres in eastern Ghouta on Monday claiming the lives of about 30 civilians and leaving dozens wounded.
Activists in Douma said that life nearly stopped in the rebel-held district for fear of the Assad regime’s repeated use of toxic chlorine.
According to Agence France-Presse, a Western-backed draft resolution was submitted to the UN Security Council to condemn chlorine gas attacks by the Assad regime on eastern Ghouta. The Council failed again to reach agreement on a draft resolution establishing a new mechanism to condemn those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria and to hold them accountable. . (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition called on the UN Security Council to take immediate action to put an immediate end to the “war crimes and genocide” the Assad regime and Russia are committing against the Syrian people.
In a press release issued on Monday, the Coalition called on the UN Security Council to take immediate action and issue a resolution condemning Russia’s atrocious crimes against the Syrian people and forcing it to end its support for the Assad regime. The Coalition also said that a UN Security Council resolution is also urgently needed to ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are held accountable, namely the Russian and Assad regimes and its allied foreign militias as well all those who have committed crimes against the Syrian people.
Activists in rural Idlib on Sunday said that Russian and Assad regime jets and helicopters conducted no fewer than 50 airstrikes on the towns and villages of Idlib province. They confirmed that internationally banned chlorine-filled barrel bombs and cluster bombs were used in the attacks.
Activists said that they had recorded over 12 cases of asphyxiation in the town of Sarqib on Sunday after a regime helicopter dropped a barrel bomb filled with the poison chlorine gas on the town. The victims included three members of the Civil Defense who were injured while doing their duty to save civilians.
Russian airstrikes killed six civilians in the town of Kafranbel and three others in the town of Maasran. Two more civilians were killed when Russian jets bombed the outskirts of the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'man in rural Idlib with cluster bombs. The attacks also put a major hospital out of service.
The Coalition strongly condemned “the barbaric onslaught by the Russian occupation and the Assad regime forces targeting mainly civilians and residential neighborhoods in the towns and villages of Idlib province.”
“The international community is obliged to condemn this criminal campaign and to work at all levels to stop it and protect civilians in Idlib, the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta, and all parts of Syria,” the Coalition added. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters and Turkish army captured a number of mountains and villages in Afrin from terrorist militias of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) as part of Operation ‘Olive Branch’ aimed at liberating Afrin from the separatist terrorist militias.
The FSA groups on Friday captured Dharmik Mountain in the Bulbul sub-district as well as the villages of Balal Kuy and Beko in the Rajo sub-district north of Afrin after clashes with the terrorist PYD militias.
The terrorist PYD militia responded by targeting a popular market and residential areas in the town of Azaz in rural Aleppo with mortars and artillery, causing number of civilian casualties.
The terrorist PYD militias also continued to target civilians in the Turkish provinces of Kilis and Hatay. The shelling by the PYD militia on border towns and villages inside Turkish territory have so far resulted in the death of seven civilians, including two Syrian refugees, and injured 107 others, including children since the start of Operation ‘Olive Branch’ on January 20.
The FSA groups and the Turkish army have launched Operation Olive Branch against positions of the terrorist groups in Afrin while taking all necessary measures to protect civilians in the area. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Anadolu Agency)
Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr Hariri, reaffirmed the Commission’s insistence on the full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2254 after the Constitutional Committee had been put under the auspices of the UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura and the United Nations.
"We are fully committed to the provisions of UN Security Council resolution 2254 as we welcome any ideas and initiatives supporting the implantation of the resolution," Hariri said at a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey, on Thursday. He underscored the need to a create a safe and neutral environment for the constitutional process to take place while ensuring the free will of participants.
Hariri also stressed that this safe and neutral environment requires the initiation of a transitional phase led by a Transitional Governing Body (TGB) with full executive powers in accordance with UN resolutions.
The Commission is seeking to make the conference serve the Geneva political process with a number of principles, chief among them are the establishment of a ceasefire, allowing humanitarian aid convoys into the besieged areas, and the release of a first batch of detainees, Hariri said. He emphasized that any outcome coming out of the Sochi conference must correspond with UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Moreover, Hariri stressed that the Sochi conference should be a one-off without turning into a parallel or conflicting course with the Geneva process. He said that any outcome of the conference must be delivered to the UN-led political process in Geneva in line with UN resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communiqué of 2012.
Hariri pointed out that the Sochi conference must not be considered as representing all the Syrian people because of the way the participants were selected, reiterating the need for a neutral environment for the conference and all its arrangements.
Hariri said that the Commission has spared no effort to achieve a breakthrough in the path of political solution and was open to any ideas that would help in this regard.
Hariri thanked all countries supporting the Syrian people's demands for freedom and dignity and those which interacted with the Commission during the making of its independent national decision which was made with a free will and out of a deep sense of national responsibility. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)