The Syrian Coalition’s political committee held meetings with political and civic organizations as well as university students in the Turkish city of Mersin over the past two days. The meetings discussed the tragic situation in eastern Ghouta and the fierce onslaught being launched by the Assad regime and its allies on the Damascus suburb.
Members of the committee met with representatives of the Hemma Team, Insan Team, Syrian Women in Mersin Organization, the Fajr Forum, the Syrian Scholars Association in Mersin, university students and political parties. The discussions were focused on the reality of the Syrian revolution and the challenges facing the revolution and its institutions.
Secretary of the political committee Mohammed Yahya Maktabi stressed the need for coordinated efforts and cooperation between the Coalition and Syrian civil society groups, organizations and parties at all levels.
Maktabi stressed the importance of having a specialization in all areas in order to develop a true roadmap for the future as he stressed the need to rely on technocrats in the next stage.
The meetings also addressed the danger of the systematic mass forced displacement of the people of eastern Ghouta as they discussed the Syrians' fears of the Assad regime and its allies’ plans to bring about demographic change in eastern Ghouta through relentless bombardment and destruction. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition congratulated the Syrian people from all backgrounds on the occasion of the Newruz day which coincided with the anniversary of the outbreak of the Syrian revolution.
The Coalition said that this year the Newruz Day is not like other days “as residents of Afrin and surrounding towns and villages will be able to feel the true meaning of the Newruz festival for the first time in decades.”
“The Assad regime and the PYD terrorist group have prevented the celebration of this festival for decades. The Syrian National Army will remain on their side and on the side of the Syrian people as it will spare no effort to protect them and provide security and stability for them,” the Coalition said.
“Our Kurdish, Assyrian Syriacs, and Assyrian Syriac brethren celebrate Newruz Day on 21st of March of each year. This day is an occasion to show respect for life and freedom as well as to emphasize the meaning of rebirth and change.”
The Coalition went on: “On this spring festival symbolizing freedom and emancipation from injustice and oppression and in spite of the siege, killings and displacement, the Syrian people renew their hopes and aspirations to live in a unified homeland free of injustice, oppression, criminality, and occupation.”
“The Syrian people find in this festival an occasion to renew their hope in Syria’s men and women who are capable of opening the door to coexistence and building a common future. This hope stems from the might of right, freedom and dignity as well as from the confidence that victory will be on our side even if forces of falsehood allied against what is right.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition called upon the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and all other international organizations and bodies take the necessary measures to protect civilians, put an end to Russia, Iran, and Assad regime’s crimes and holding them accountable.
In a press release issued on Thursday, the Coalition condemned the brutal massacre warplanes of the Russian occupation committed in rural Idlib on Wednesday. The massacre claimed the lives of at least 22 civilians, including 16 children and three women who were killed when Russian jets deliberately bombed an underground shelter in the village of Kafar Batikh where civilians sought protection from bombardment. The victims suffocated to death after a large part of the shelter collapsed on their heads, while only a woman survived.
Airstrikes also targeted an IDPs camp near the town of Haas on Wednesday, killing and injuring dozens of civilians, including women, children and elderly people who fled their homes to escape the bombings.
“These are the ‘achievements’ Russian President Vladimir Putin is making in Syria using blood of children, women and elderly people,” the Coalition said. “The international community, which has long stood idly by, has a responsibility to find a way to stop these barbaric massacres especially as the UN Security Council has a responsibility to maintain international peace and security.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Rahman Mustafa sent a letter to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan highlighting the desperate catastrophic situation in Eastern Ghouta. Mustafa expressed hope that Ankara will take action save civilians and put an end to the genocide against them.
“Your Excellency, the people of Eastern Ghouta are facing an extermination. Your action will prevent the death of many more. We count on the Republic of Turkey to spare no effort to ensure an end to the suffering of the Syrian people, and that their just demands of freedom, dignity and justice are fulfilled,” the letter said.
Mustafa added: “Almost every hospital in Eastern Ghouta has gone out of service leaving hundreds of injured by the indiscriminate bombardment at the risk of losing their lives because of the lack of medical care. We fear that without urgent action, a major loss of civilian life – on an unprecedented scale – may be imminent.”
“We believe that the Assad regime can only persist in this criminal behavior as long as it enjoys the impunity it has enjoyed so far by the international inaction let alone the active support of its allies, particularly Russia.”
Mustafa called upon the Turkish president to press for the stopping of the barbaric attack on civilians in eastern Ghouta by compelling the Assad regime to abide by the terms of a cessation of hostilities. He also called for helping in allowing unfettered and immediate humanitarian access and medical aid to the area.
Mustafa also called for holding into account those responsible for these crimes and ensuring the preventing of repetition such gross violations. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Rahman Mustafa sent a letter to British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson stressing that the failure of the international community had encouraged the use of chemical weapons on both Syrian and British territory.
“It is with great shock and outrage that we have received the news of Russia’s use of chemical weapons on British soil on March 4, 2018 to target former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a nerve agent,” the letter said.
Mustafa stressed that “the use of this weapon, which is banned under International Law, including in wartime, constitutes a blatant violation of the sovereignty of the United Kingdom and poses a threat to social peace and security. Moreover, the proliferation and use of chemical weapons constitute a serious threat to international peace and security.”
“The side responsible for use of chemical weapons in the United Kingdom and in Syria as well as the perpetrator of crimes and massacres against civilians is one.”
Mustafa went on: “The failure of the international community to respond to the ongoing violations of human rights and International Law as well as its failure to shoulder its responsibilities to maintain international peace and security are encouraging the Iranian, and Assad regimes to carry on with their crimes, most notably the use of internationally prohibited weapons.”
Mustafa stressed that that Russia should be dealt with, at the political and legal levels in the UNSC, as a party to the conflict on the side of the Assad regime against the Syrian people. “Russia is the effective leader of all military operations in Syria with all its consequences, including the continuous use of chemical weapons by the regime.”
“Russia and Iran are supporting a regime that has long lost all legitimacy to rule.”
Mustafa underscored that there was “a legal and political connections between the use of chemical weapons in Syria and their recent use in the United Kingdom.”
Moreover, Mustafa reiterated that the Coalition was “committed to put all of its efforts and resources to eliminate all forms of terrorism, and its root causes, extremism and which is inflamed by the acts and crimes of the Assad regime.”
Mustafa expressed deep sense of gratitude and appreciation to the government and people of the United Kingdom for their “honorable positions in support of the Syrian Revolution and the Syrian people who have been subjected to the most heinous crimes by the Assad regime and its allies. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition’s political committee on Tuesday held an important meeting with representatives of friendly countries. The meeting discussed the current situation in eastern Ghouta and the war crimes being committed by the Assad, Russian and Iranian forces against civilians. They also discussed the liberation of Afrin from the militias of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the latest political developments.
The meeting was attended by Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr al-Hariri and representative of Jaish al-Islam rebel group Mohammed Alloush. Deputy Head of the Syrian Interim Government Akram Tomah spoke via a video link from Douma, while Mustafa Saqr spoke via a video link from Harasta. Deputy Chief of Staff of the Syrian National Army Colonel Haitham Al-Afisi also spoke via a video link.
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Rahman Mustafa said that the Assad regime continues to show utter disregard for UN Security Council resolutions. He stressed the need to take action to force the Assad regime to comply with UN resolution 2401 and stop the daily killings against civilians and allow urgent humanitarian aid.
Mustafa saluted the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Turkish armed forces that liberated Afrin without causing civilian casualties or material damage. He stressed that the PYD militias are as bad as the ISIS extremist group as he said that Operation Olive Branch was aimed at liberating the town without causing any destruction.
Head of the Coalition’s Foreign Affairs Department Abdel-Ahad Steifo welcomed the representatives of friendly countries as he stressed the need for interaction and the taking of political action to save civilians and push the political process forward.
For his part, Tomah slammed the ignoring of the plight of civilians trapped in eastern Ghouta. "We have been appealing to the international community for the past seven years, but all our calls have fallen on deaf ears. The ongoing onslaught on eastern Ghouta is mainly targeting civilian.”
Tomah pointed out that the Assad regime and Russian air forces "targeted underground shelters and food warehouses and cut off eastern Ghouta into sectors with the aim of displacing the civilian population. He said that the Assad regime and Russia are seeking to put growing pressure on the rebel fighters and force eastern Ghouta to surrender.
The ongoing assault on eastern Ghouta has so far claimed the lives of 1,600 people, mostly civilians, Tomah said. "We reject forced displacement and will stick to our land. We will not accept that eastern Ghouta is returned under Assad’s rule.”
Mustafa Saqr called for urgent action by the international community to protect civilians and enable them to remain in their areas. He stressed that the people of eastern Ghouta want immediate and urgent intervention in order to achieve those goals.
Alloush said that Russia is seeking to increase its weapons sales by using eastern Ghouta as a test ground for its new weapons. "Russia has tested all types of modern aircraft against civilians in eastern Ghouta to increase its sales of new types of weapons."
Colonel Haitham al-Afisi said that the FSA and Turkish armed forces are working on allowing all the people of Afrin to return to their homes. He noted that instructions were issued to all fighters to protect civilians and maintain infrastructure in Afrin.
"We have so far cleared as many as 10,000 mines from the area," Afisi said. He noted that the the PYD militias used the same tactics that the extremist ISIS group used to lay mines and set up booby-traps everywhere in the area. He said that these mines have so far caused many civilian casualties.
Member of the political committee Fuad Aliko said that the PYD militia collaborated with the Assad regime, Iran and Russia as well as the United States. He said that “the PYD was used to achieve certain goals the consequences of which we repeatedly warned of.”
Aliko pointed out that the immediate priority now must be allowing the displaced people to return to their towns and villages in Afrin and establish a local council to administer the area.
As for the latest political developments, member of the political committee Hadi al-Bahra said that the Syrian Coalition, as a founding and active member within the Syrian Negotiations Commission, has been exerting all possible efforts to push the Geneva political process forward. The Coalition is also working to create the appropriate conditions for the success of the political process through serious, positive interaction within the Commission and with the rest of its components as well as with the efforts of the UN special envoy to Syria.
"The Syrian Coalition, as a unified opposition within the Syrian Negotiations Commission, is determined to help achieve the aspirations of our people for political transition through
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdel Rahman Mustafa congratulated the Syrian people, especially residents of Afrin, for being from the militia of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). He stressed that the liberation of Afrin reflected the desire of the Syrian people to be freed from terrorist organizations having links with the Assad regime.
Mustafa saluted the “heroes of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Turkish armed forces for the liberation of Afrin town from the PYD terrorist group as well as their efforts to ensure protection for Afrin’s residents and their property and to clear the area of mines.”
“The liberation of Afrin reflected the will of the Syrian people to free their country from terrorism that has been a key partner of the Assad regime and the ISIS extremist group. The Assad regime has been using terror to spread chaos and destruction in Syria and kill the Syrian people en masse."
Drawing a comparison between the PYD militias’ actions following their takeover of Raqqa city with United States aerial support and the operation to liberate Afrin, which remained largely intact, Mustafa said: "It is difficult for the human mind to apprehend the scale of devastation against human beings and buildings which was caused by the international coalition forces in their campaign against ISIS. He praised the achievements of the heroes of the FSA and Turkish armed forces in Afrin. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition called on the United Nations to send a commission of inquiry to eastern Ghouta and enforce UN Security Council Resolution 2401 following reports of an exodus of civilians from the Damascus suburb as a result of heavy bombardment.
In a press release issued on Monday, the Coalition called on the United Nations to send a special committee to check up on the situation on the ground and ensure the well-being of people fleeing the bombardment of the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta. It also called for providing protection for civilians and ensuring they are provided with appropriate shelter.
The Syrian Coalition also called on international organizations, especially the International Committee of the Red Cross, to relieve the families fleeing eastern Ghouta. Regime forces have reportedly detained hundreds of civilians and are holding thousands more in underequipped, crowded shelters with very limited access to food and drinking water as well as necessary medicines.
“The dispersal of families, the separation of children from their families, forcing the people to chant for the criminal Bashar al-Assad and hold his photographs, the detention of hundreds of people in detention centers similar to the Nazi concentration camps under the supervision of the Iranian sectarian militias, the practice of terrorism and the issuance of threats of murder and detention, the endless humiliation of those fleeing eastern Ghouta are all crimes that need to be publicly condemned,” the Coalition stressed.
“These crimes must be stopped and action must be taken to ensure that they are not repeated by Assad the regime and its allied foreign militias.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Negotiations Commission stressed that the Assad regime, Iranian militias, and Russian air force are committing war crimes in Syria by bombing residential areas with indiscriminate and internationally banned weapons. It warned of the collapse of political process should these crimes continue.
The Commission said in a statement that the humanitarian disasters and mass killings taking place in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta and other parts of Syria are the result of the Assad regime’s continued pursuit of a military solution in the face of the legitimate demands of the Syrian people for a political transition to a democratic state. These crimes and disaster are also the result of the regime’s refusal to engage in the negotiating process in accordance with international resolutions.
The Commission pointed out that the military actions of the Assad regime, Russia and Iran and their indiscriminate use of internationally prohibited weapons violated International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law. It warned that these actions would lead to humanitarian catastrophes right under the eyes of the whole world and show utter disregard to the lives of women, children and the elderly.
The continued bombings claiming the lives of thousands of civilians risk putting the whole political process at stake and threatens it with total collapse, which will worsen the tragedy of the Syrian people and reflect negatively on regional and international peace, the Commission stressed.
The Commission called for real pressure on the Russian Federation, Iran and the Assad regime to comply fully with UN Security Council Resolution 2401 by stopping all military operations causing massacres against civilians.
These massacres are a disgrace to the international community, the Commission added. It also called for the introduction of humanitarian aid to the besieged areas as well as the activation of the UN-led political process in Geneva in order to achieve political transition and rid Syria of all forms of tyranny and terrorism. It underscored that no party to the conflict should seek solutions outside the framework of international legality. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
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)