Syrians at home and abroad commemorated the seventh anniversary of the Syrian revolution which began in March 2011, vowing they would carry on with the struggle against the Assad regime until they fully regain their rights to freedom and dignity.
Syrian activists held sit-ins in the liberated areas as well as in neighboring countries and some European capitals. The celebrations will continue until Sunday, March 18.
The Syrian Coalition said that “the Syrian revolution enters its eighth year with greater determination to carry on with the revolution until victory and the establishment of a civil democratic, pluralistic state as well as to combat terrorism and rid the homeland of the foreign forces and militias.”
The Coalition called upon forces of the revolution "to undertake comprehensive review of their course and identify the shortcomings to overcome them in a practical plan responding to the challenges. Such a plan is needed to rally together forces of the revolution in a broad front to beat off the challenges of the current phase and meet the requirements of the next phase."
The Coalition stressed that the Syrian people do not accept humiliation and enslavement. “Just like all other human beings, we detest war, murder, oppression, slavery and tyranny. Every new day and year brings with them new hope and increase our determination to rise up, fight on, show creativity and carry on with the struggle without despair.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Members of the Coalition’s political committee held a teleconference with leading figures in Dara’a province to discuss together the latest developments on the ground and the recent military attacks carried out by the Assad regime's air force against residential areas.
Both sides also discussed the military readiness of the Free Syrian Army groups in southern Syria. Secretary of the political committee Yahya Maktabi said that the crimes being committed by the Assad regime and Russian forces must not go unpunished.
"Moscow does not abide by all agreements, which puts its credibility at stake," Maktabi said. He called upon the international community to support the Free Syrian Army to rein in the regime and its backers.
For its part, the Executive Office of Dara’a Provincial Council reaffirmed commitment to the demands for the departure of the Assad regime with all its pillars and symbols. They denounced the crimes being committed against civilians in eastern Ghouta as they stressed they were ready to relieve them.
Both sides also discussed the recent reports about an imminent major military operation to relieve eastern Ghouta. Tabled for discussions were also the daily bombardment by heavy artillery on the liberated towns and villages in Dara’a province. The shelling is causing civilian casualties, damages to civilian property, and disrupting civilians’ life.
The province of Dara’a has been subjected to daily aerial bombardment by the Assad regime and Russia’s air forces. Regime forces are also shelling the liberated neighborhoods of Dara’a with mortar fire, killing and injuring dozens of people.
Meanwhile, the United States on Tuesday called for an urgent meeting in Jordan because of concerns over reports of new military attacks in southwestern Syria, specifically in the areas covered by the de-escalation zones agreement which was negotiated last year. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Acting President of the Syrian Coalition Abdel Rahman Mustafa slammed the absence of a genuine international will to stop the genocide taking place against the people of the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta despite the scale of the tragedy.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Mustafa pointed out that the international community has neither the means nor the will to stop the genocide being carried out by the Assad regime over the past few years. He noted that civilians in different parts across Syria are suffering the worst humanitarian crisis even though the tragedy is unfolding in front of all the world’s media outlets and the eyes of the world, especially in eastern Ghouta.
Mustafa stressed the need to refer the Assad regime to the International Criminal Court for its serious crimes, expressing hope that the cessation of hostilities will hold in all areas across Syria. He said that the Assad regime and its allies continue to violate the ceasefire.
Mustafa expected that the area of Afrin in the province of Aleppo would witness a popular uprising against the injustice they are suffering at the hands of the PYD militias who are using civilians as human shields.
Mustafa pointed out that the people of Afrin will return to their areas which will be administered by elected local councils, expressing hope that the Syrian Interim Government will play an effective role in this regard.
Moreover, Mustafa expressed hope that all detainees will be released from the prisons of the Assad regime, which will attest to the regime’s crimes. "The regime is unwilling to release the detainees or stop torture and murder in its prisons because that will be used as an evidence indicting it.
Mustafa said that the Geneva negotiations have so far failed to produce tangible results. However, he reaffirmed commitment to the course of the political process as he said that the Syrian opposition preserves the right to resist the regime and the foreign occupation of the homeland.
Mustafa reasserted the Coalition's adherence to political solution even though the regime and its allies chose a military solution. He called on the international community to exercise pressure on the Assad regime to engage in the political process as it evades negotiations through military escalation. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Interim Government’s health directorate in Rural Damascus has published appalling figures of the death toll in the suburb of eastern Ghouta as a Syrian Coalition official stressed that the international community's lukewarm response towards the Assad regime led to the occurrence of war crimes on a large scale in Syria.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee Yasser Farhan said that the humanitarian tragedy affecting the people of eastern Ghouta has become the last appeal to the United Nations to carry out its moral and legal duties to protect civilians.
In press release issue on Tuesday, the Directorate of Health said that 1,201 civilians have been killed and 8,804 others injured in eastern Ghouta over the last three weeks of the ferocious military campaign being launched by the Assad regime forces with Russian support. It indicated that the victims included at least 209 children and 213 women.
The Directorate said that two doctors, four nurses, and two paramedics were killed in attacks on hospitals and medical centers in the besieged Damascus suburb.
The figures showed that the humanitarian suffering in eastern Ghouta had reached an unprecedented level since the siege and bombardment began in 2013.
Farhan stressed that war crimes being committed against Syrian civilians make it incumbent on the Syrian people’s friendly countries to take action outside the UN Security Council and launch a military strike against the Assad regime to force it to abide by UN Security Council resolution 2401 demanding a ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.
Member of the political committee and the Syrian Negotiations Commission Hadi al-Bahra stressed the need for the UN Security Council’s member states to take measures to force the Assad regime to abide by Resolution 2401. He said that such measures are likely to push ahead the political process and negotiations.
"It is feasible. It is necessary. And it is overdue,” Bahra told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Monday. He slammed Russia’s continued disabling of the UN Security Council through its repeated use of its veto power to shield the Assad regime. (Source: Syrian’s Coalition Media Department)
Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Hadi al-Bahra stressed the need for the UN Security Council’s member states to take measures to force the Assad regime to abide by Resolution 2401. He said that such measures are likely to push ahead the political process and negotiations.
"Stopping violence and making the peace process workable requires deliberate action by those who have the capability to do so," Bahra told a meeting of the Security Council on Monday.
Bahra urged the UN Security Council member states to threaten and if necessary take military action to deter all violations of the ceasefire demanded by the UN Security Council throughout Syria — not only for using chemical weapons.
“It is feasible. It is necessary. And it is overdue,” Bahra stressed.
Bahra pointed out that if Russia is not willing to allow the UN Security Council to be effective, then there is no clearer example of the need for action outside the Council to force the implementation of its resolutions. He underscored that the Security Council member states’ progressive approach and their watching idly by mean that they will have to deal with the consequences in other countries.
Bahra stressed that relying on Russia to rein in the Assad regime is not a strategic option, but a tactic based on wishful thinking. He pointed out that over the past few years, Moscow has not been able to control its agent, the Assad regime. "Even the Assad regime repelled Russia when it rejected the outcome of the Sochi conference.”
Bahra, who is also member of the Syrian Negotiations Commission and former president of the Coalition, reaffirmed commitment to the political process, noting that negotiations are the only way to achieve sustainable peace in Syria. He stressed that the political process will go nowhere as long as the Assad regime is not forced to sit at the negotiating table. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Hadi al-Bahra stressed the need for the UN Security Council’s member states to take measures to ensure the implementation of Resolution 2401. The Council is set to convene later on Monday to assess the ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.
"Allowing the Assad regime to continue to commit crimes against the Syrian people without any consequences will not restore stability in the region or put an end to the terrible cycle of terrorism," Bahra said. He stressed that the actions of the Assad regime are "the root cause of extremism and the trigger for the endless cycle of terrorism.”
Bahra underscored that the international community is to blame for the current situation in Syria “as it has left the Syrian people alone for seven consecutive years in its struggle against the crimes of the tyrannical regime."
Bahra pointed out that Iran's continued pursuit of destructive policies in Syria and the region leading to further spread of terrorism as well as the fueling of sectarian strife and conflicts throughout the region will make it impossible to achieve peace or restore security and stability to the region.
The Iranian regime is the main supporter and partner with the Assad regime, Bahra said, stressing the need to hold it accountable for the crimes the Iranian militias and forces are committing in Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The 38th ordinary session of the Syrian Coalition’s General Assembly began Saturday morning. Members of the Assembly will discuss the ongoing genocide in eastern Ghouta and ways to ensure full implementation of Security Council resolution 2401.
Tabled for discussions is also the Assad regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons amid continued failure of the international community’s to enforce UN Security Council resolutions on Syria.
Moreover, the meeting will discuss the latest political developments and the negotiations process and will review the constitutional process in accordance with UN resolution 2254.
Members of the General Assembly reiterated that Russia is a partner of the Assad regime in its crimes. They added that Russia does not meet its international pledges which contravenes with its status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Salwa Aqsoy on Friday said that Russia’s continued military attacks against Syrian civilians in support of the Assad regime will not dissuade the Syrian people from continuing to demand their rights to freedom, dignity and the overthrow of the regime.
"The Syrian people will not make a single step back,” Aksoy said. “Attempts to re-produce the Assad regime will be doomed to failure.” She stressed that insistence on the regaining of freedom and dignity as well as the establishment of a democratic state is the only way out of the conflict in Syria. . (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Salwa Aqsoy said that Russia’s continued military attacks against Syrian civilians in support of the Assad regime will not dissuade the Syrian people from continuing to demand their rights to freedom, dignity and the overthrow of the regime.
For nearly a month, the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta has been subjected to ferocious bombardment by the Assad regime and Russian air forces who are using internationally banned weapons. The onslaught on eastern Ghouta is continuing despite the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.
The Syrian Coalition’s political committee convened a meeting on Friday to discuss the latest field developments and war crimes being committed against Syrian civilians as well as the Assad regime’s repeated use of chlorine gas.
"The killings and mass massacres being committed against our people in eastern Ghouta will not dissuade us from demanding a comprehensive change and the overthrow of the Assad regime," Aksoy said after the meeting.
"The Syrian people will not make a single step back,” Aksoy said. “Attempts to re-produce the Assad regime will be doomed to failure.” She stressed that insistence on the regaining of freedom and dignity as well as the establishment of a democratic state is the only way out of the conflict in Syria.
Aksoy also stressed that by continuing to support Assad, Moscow risks emerging as the biggest loser along with Bashar al-Assad and all war criminals who will be held accountable in international courts.
She pointed out that the international community’s failure to protect children in eastern Ghouta will remain a disgrace to humanity and a clear indication of the need to bring about a radical change in the international system so that it becomes more capable of maintaining international peace and security. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Member of the Syrian Coalition Dima Moussa has issued an appeal to all women across the world to participate in the campaigns and sit-ins being held across the world to spotlight the suffering Syrian women are enduring as a result of the criminal practices of the Assad regime against them.
"I salute all women across the world, especially Syrian women, on the occasion of International Women's Day,” Moussa said. She added: ‘We want to convey our voices to the whole world to expose the suffering being inflicted on Syrian women by the Assad regime and put an end to the hell they are living in.”
Moussa made her remarks as she participated in the "International Conscience Convoy" which arrived on Thursday to the Turkish province of Hatay near the Syrian border after it set off from Istanbul on Tuesday. The event aims to demonstrate solidarity with women detained in the prisons of the Assad regime.
Moussa pointed out that that the continued silence on the practices of the Assad regime against Syrian women, most notably murder, detention, kidnapping and rape, are no longer acceptable. She stressed the need to hold Bashar al-Assad and all war criminals accountable for such practices.
With the participation of activists and NGO members from 55 countries, the International Conscience Convoy started its journey with 55 buses after holding a press conference at Istanbul. Participants in the convoy included 200 women from Bosnia’s Srebrenica as well as dozens of women who lost loved ones at the hands of the Assad regime.
Lawyer Gülden Sönmez, deputy chairman of the Human Rights and Justice Movement (İHAK), said at a press conference in Istanbul about the event that 13,581 women have been subjected to torture and maltreatment in the "dungeons of the Assad regime" and some were raped since the uprising against the regime started in 2011. "Currently there are 6,736 adult and 417 underage prisoners." (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Assad regime forces have once again used chlorine poison against civilians in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta despite the strong international warnings to stop the use of this banned type of weapon as well as calls for commitment to UN Security Council resolution 2401. The resolution called for at least 30-day ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.
The Syrian Civil Defense in Rural Damascus said that 124 civilians, mostly women and children, suffered from asphyxiation after Assad forces targeted the area located between the towns of Saqba and Hammouriya with a barrel bomb containing poisonous chlorine gas.
As many as 92 civilians were killed on Wednesday in aerial and artillery bombardment on eastern Ghouta. The Syrian Coalition said that the onslaught on the Damascus suburb constituted genocide which is being carried out with direct support from Russia.
The United Nations has stepped up its rhetoric against the practices of the Assad regime and its backers over the past few days. Chairman of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry, Paulo Pinheiro, confirmed that the Assad regime committed war crimes by using chemical weapons against civilians.
United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said that "recent attempts to justify indiscriminate, brutal attacks on hundreds of thousands of civilians by the need to combat a few hundred fighters – as in Eastern Ghouta – are legally, and morally, unsustainable.”
"Also, when you are prepared to kill your own people so easily, lying is easy too. Claims by the Government of Syria that it is taking every measure to protect its civilian population are frankly ridiculous," Hussein told the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday.
The Syrian Coalition on Wednesday said that stopping the genocide in eastern Ghouta requires measures bypassing Russia's attempts to disrupt the Security Council and prevent the achievement of international justice, including military measures.
These measures should include deterrent military action to put an end to the onslaught by the Assad regime and the Iranian terrorist militias against our people trapped in eastern Ghouta; punish war criminals and perpetrators of the crime of using chemical weapons and toxic gases; and protect millions of Syrians whose cities and homes are being destroyed,” the Coalition added. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)