The Syrian Coalition’s Department of Foreign Affairs met with a Canadian delegation headed by Stefanie Beck, Assistant of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Both sides discussed the latest developments on the ground, especially with regard to the crimes of the mass forced displacement, the continued bombardment of populated areas, and the recently introduced Law No. 10 in addition to the latest political developments.
The two sides stressed that Iran is a source of concern as it is causing instability in the region and working to serve its interests and controlling the region through military and economical means.
Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Abdul Ahad Steifo, said that the continued war crimes by the Assad regime and its backers gives the impression to the Syrian people that the existence of international institutions is useless and that its resolutions are anything but effective.
Steifo stressed the need for international combined push to activate the work of the international mechanism for accountability for war crimes in Syria, especially the ones targeting civilians, such as the use of chemical weapons, incendiary bombs and barrel bombs.
Steifo called for a boycott of the conference on denuclearization the UN intends to hold next month. He also called on the Canadian delegation to encourage the rest of the friendly countries to also boycott the conference. He said that it was "shameful for the United Nations" to allow the countries most involved in the use of chemical weapons to chair the conference.
Moreover, Steifo pointed out that the political process is almost dead because of the insistence of the Assad regime to pursue a military solution to the conflict. He added that Iran does not believe in a political solution in Syria as it continues to support Assad crimes.
“The Assad and Iranian regimes want the Syrian people to give up their demands for freedom, dignity and democracy and for building genuine institutions that are based on justice and equality. Meeting these demands is possible only through reaching a comprehensive political transition and through the implementation of the Geneva Communique of 2012 and the UN Security Council resolution 2254. The Assad regime will not sit at the negotiating table if it is not forced to do so,” Steifo said.
For her part, member of the Department Dima Moussa said that reaching a political solution must precede any talks about reconstruction. She underscored that any attempt to normalize relations with the Assad regime, lift the sanctions on it, or restore consular relations with the regime will be understood by the Assad regime as a sign of weakness on the part of the Western countries and will negatively impact the final political solution.
Moussa stressed the need to use all judicial and legal means to begin the process of holding accountable all those involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Moussa urged the use of reports issued by the UN committees and relevant organizations, many of which proved the involvement of the Assad regime in war crimes such as the use of globally banned weapons, most notably chemical weapons.
Other war crimes also included the as the torture of detainees and the systematic mass forced displacement as well as the introduction of new legalizations, the most recent of which is Law Number 10 (2018), Moussa said. The implementation of such laws risks depriving the displaced persons and refugees of the right to return to their homes. Such laws also violate article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Members of the Department thanked Canada for its support for the rights and aspirations of the Syrian people as well as for its generous provision of relief and humanitarian support for the Syrian people. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition said that the alarmingly increasing racist hate speech and crimes against Syrian refugees in Lebanon coincided with recent irresponsible statements by some officials of the Lebanese government against Syrian refugees. The Coalition condemned the savage assault on Syrian refugee Mohammed Abdul Jawad by a member of the Lebanese Army.
Abdul Jawad died on Thursday in a hospital in the town of Al-Suwairi of the serious injuries he sustained during the physical assault.
In a press release issued on Thursday, the Coalition said that no investigations were launched into previous attacks on Syrian refugees, some of which targeted children.
The assault took place when Abdul Jawad, who used to work as a bus driver for a kindergarten, pulled off to drop a child at his house. A Lebanese soldier who was driving behind Abdul Jawad stepped out of his car along with a passenger, grabbed Abdul Jawad out of the bus and beat him severely with a stick until he lost consciousness. Abdul Jawad died of sever cerebral hemorrhage on Thursday.
The Coalition said that Abdul Jawad was forced to leave his hometown of Al-Qusair in rural Homs after it was occupied by the Hezbollah militia in 2013. The Lebanese militia killed four of his brothers and prevented him and local residents of the town from returning to their homes. Abdul Jawad used to support eight children along with his wife.
The Coalition urged the Lebanese government to shoulder its legal and moral responsibilities and ensure protection for Syrian refugees. Vicious attacks on Syrian refugees must be investigated and the perpetrators must be held accountable in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
The Coalition called on Arab and international human rights organizations to seriously look into the repeated attacks on Syrian refugees by the Lebanese Army, Lebanese security forces, and the militias operating outside the framework of law. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition’s Department of Foreign Affairs on Thursday met with Cheng Weihua, Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Ankara to discuss the latest developments on the ground in Syria, including the Assad regime’s continued bloody military campaign and the latest political developments.
The meeting, which was attended by President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa, also discussed the Assad regime’s repeated use of internationally banned chemical weapons. Beijing supported the launch of UN investigations into the use of this internationally prohibited weapon and holding those responsible to account.
Mustafa expressed hope for the establishment of strong relations with China and for working together to hold accountable perpetrators of war crimes in Syria through supporting the UN accountability mechanism. He said that accountability for war crimes would open the way for a real political process leading to a political solution preserving Syria’s territorial integrity.
Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Abdul Ahad Steifo, pointed out that the Syrian Coalition and the Syrian Negotiations Commission dealt positively with the negotiating process in Geneva and sought to achieve international consensus on political solution in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. He pointed out that the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura and the majority of the UN Security Council’s member states attested to the positivity that was shown by the Coalition.
Steifo reiterated that the Assad regime and its backers did not show any seriousness during the latest round of the Geneva talks because of their insistence on pursuing a bloody military solution. He cited the Assad regime’s continued killings, mass forced displacement, siege, and the targeting of health facilities and humanitarian workers.
Member of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the political committee Hadi al-Bahra said that the Assad regime and its allies’ behavior does not suggest there will be a change in their military strategy.
“This fact has been manifested through the continued use of brutal force against Syrian civilians and the mass forced displacement of civilians aimed at changing the demographic landscape in Syria. It has also been demonstrated by the Assad regime’s recent introduction of Law No. 10 which threatens to deprive the civilian population of their property and to prevent the displaced persons from returning to their homes," Bahra said.
For his part, the Chinese Counselor handed a letter from the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the Coalition’s leadership, saying that the letter is a response to a previous letter from the Coalition’s President to Beijing.
The letter expressed China's keenness to preserve the territorial integrity of Syria and its belief that a political solution is the only realistic solution for the Syrian crisis. It also reaffirmed Beijing’s support for the UN mediation as it stressed that Beijing opposes the use of force in international relations and the use of chemical weapons.
The meeting concluded with President Mustafa urging the UN Security Council to unanimously agree on the need to hold accountable all perpetrators of war crimes in Syria, especially the crimes of the use of chemical weapons and for which Assad’s involvement has been already confirmed. He underscored the need to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court as essential to reaching a lasting politician solution. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa called for maintaining the international momentum on Syria in order to find a political solution in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. He stressed the need to accelerate the work of the international mechanism adopted to identify war criminals and hold them to account.
President Mustafa said that the activation of this mechanism aimed at putting an end to the war crimes being committed by the Assad regime as well as its Russian and Iranian allies is key to resolving the Syrian crisis. He pointed out that prosecution of war criminals would pave the way for the creation of an appropriate environment for a comprehensive political transition in line with the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Violations are continuing in various areas in Syria, especially the mass forced displacement of the local populations and the targeting of residential areas, President Mustafa said. He underscored that the Syrian people still cherish hope in the ability of the international community to provide an enabling environment to achieve their aspirations for freedom and dignity.
President Mustafa also stressed the need for a firm will on the part of the international community to hold the Assad regime accountable for the war crimes it is committing in Syria and to keep the door open for new military strikes against the Assad regime and the Iranian militias.
"Russia continues to aid and abet Assad in the commission of crimes against Syrian civilians and continues to act unilaterally in contravention of United Nations resolutions and without taking into account the consequences of the crimes against civilians. Such behavior risks undermining international peace and security.”
Moreover, President Mustafa emphasized the importance of reaching a political solution based on the formation of a Transitional Governing Body (TGB) as essential to the restoration of stability, the return of refugees, and the elimination of the threat being posed by the Iranian sectarian militias and other terrorist organizations.
The Syrian Coalition and the Syrian Negotiations Commission will remain committed to the Geneva political process, President Mustafa said. "We are keen on continuing to deal positively with United Nations and its envoy and to discuss all issues, first and foremost the political transition that is needed to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people." (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The humanitarian situation in Syria’s north has further worsened following the arrival of the people who were forcibly displaced from eastern Ghouta in Rural Damascus. The overpopulated Idlib province suffers lack of adequate housing and shortages of foodstuffs as well as lack of enough health facilities to treat victims of the barbaric bombardment by the Assad and Russian forces.
According to figures compiled by the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), nearly three million people live in Idlib province, many of whom were forcibly displaced from various areas across Syria by the Assad regime. The Syrian Coalition said that the mass forced displacement, which is aimed at bringing about a demographic change in Syria, constituted war crimes.
According to a new report by the emergency response coordinators in northern Syria, the people who were displaced from eastern Ghouta were distributed to 201 locations in Idlib province and western rural Aleppo. They noted that there was great difficulty in sheltering all the displaced people because of lack of adequate housing.
Sheltering centers in the province can accommodate only a limited number of displaced persons, let alone that they are not equipped to accommodate all the new arrivals, the report added.
According to the report, the people who were displaced from eastern Ghouta include around 20,000 who are sick and injured. It noted that the illness and injuries were caused by bombardment and undernourishment resulting from the siege and chronic diseases. The figure does not include the people who were displaced from the town of Douma, the report added.
The Syrian Coalition earlier called on the United Nations to provide support for the forcibly displaced persons and to develop an international emergency response program to alleviate their suffering.
Just like in all rebel-held areas, the Assad regime had adopted policies aimed at putting the civilian population of eastern Ghouta in front of two choices: surrender or leave.
The Coalition stressed that allowing war criminals in Syria to escape punishment and the United Nation’s failure to establish an effective mechanism to hold accountable violators of international resolutions have further aggravated the humanitarian situation in Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition’s Department of Foreign Affairs met with the Dutch envoy to Syria as they stressed the need for the activation of the UN mechanism for the prosecution of war criminals.
The meeting, which was attended by the President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa, discussed a number of other issues, most notably the need to establish an international mechanism to hold accountable those responsible for war crimes, particularly the repeated use of chemical weapons. The meeting also discussed the recently introduced Law No. 10 and the threats it poses to the property of Syrian civilians and refugees. Tabled for discussions were also the recently formed local councils in the Afrin region.
Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs Abdul Ahad Steifo said that stabilization in Syria requires a comprehensive political transition, including the regime and state institutions.
"As time passes by, the international community can no longer overlook the facts that are indispensable for the success of the political process and finding a political solution in Syria. They are the same demands that the Syrian Coalition has repeatedly made since the time it was formed,” Steifo said.
Steifo pointed out that allowing war criminals in Syria to escape punishment and the United Nation’s failure to establish an effective mechanism to hold accountable violators of international resolutions have further aggravated the humanitarian situation in Syria. He underscored that impunity for war crimes would remain a major obstacle to the political process.
Steifo called on the Dutch envoy to work with the other friendly countries and member states of the UN Security Council to reinvigorate the political process and avoid the past mistakes to find a real political solution that is needed to put an end to the tragedy in Syria and meet the Syrian people’s aspirations for freedom, dignity and democracy.
Moreover, Steifo expressed hope for increased support for the forcibly displaced people and for international emergency response program to meet their needs as they are going through harsh conditions. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
As part of efforts by the Syrian Coalition and the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) to enable residents of the Afrin region to administer their towns and villages by themselves, a local council was formed in the town of Jandaris with Sobhi Rizk appointed as its head.
The council consists of 15 members from the town's local population, including four executive members. Fawzi Hasan was appointed as deputy head of the council.
Efforts to set up a local administration in the Afrin region of rural Aleppo began with the formation of a local council in the town of Afrin on April 12. Rizk on Friday told reporters that the council would work with SIG’s directorates to restart the existing institutions in the town and provide services to the civilian population.
"Our work in the coming period will focus on ensuring the return of people stranded on the outskirts of Afrin to their homes; improving the security situation; and the rehabilitation of education, health, and services sectors,” Rizk said.
Rizk pointed out that the Turkish government expressed its full support for the local council, adding that the council would begin its work by early next week.
Local councils will be formed in all other sub-districts of Afrin region with the aim of restoring stability and ensuring the return of displaced persons to their homes and lands.
The Syrian Coalition, in cooperation with the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), the Free Aleppo Governorate Council, and Afrin’s Local Council, on Thursday held a workshop with the aim of assessing the needs of the civilian population of Afrin.
The workshop, which was also attended by representatives of friendly countries, discussed ways to provide support and meet the basic needs of civilians as well as to rehabilitate service institutions in the region. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition, in cooperation with the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), the Free Aleppo Governorate Council, and Afrin’s Local Council, held a workshop with the aim of assessing the needs of the civilian population of Afrin. The workshop also discussed ways to provide support and meet the basic needs of civilians as well as to rehabilitate service institutions in the region.
Participants in the workshop, which was held at SIG headquarters in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, included President of the Syrian Coalition Abdulrahman Mustafa and SIG’s Head Jawad Abu Hatab as well as representatives of friendly countries. The agenda of the workshop included a detailed explanation of the situation in Afrin by the Re-stabilization Committee and an overview of SIG’ efforts to restore services institutions to the region. Participants also discussed the role of donor countries in the next phase.
President Mustafa said that everyone has a responsibility to eliminate any threat posed by Bashar al-Assad as he called for a tougher international position against the Assad regime. He stressed that the international community must stop watching idly by as the Assad regime is committing the most heinous crimes against the Syrian people and repeatedly using chemical weapons and other internationally banned weapons.
President Mustafa urged all friendly countries to urgently help meet the basic needs of the residents of Afrin in coordination with SIG institutions and restore hope for a better future in the Afrin region.
The local council in Afrin is giving priority to the return of the displaced persons to their towns and villages, Mustafa said. He added that the council is working to restore stability to the region and restore infrastructure.
President Mustafa thanked representatives of the friendly countries for their efforts and continued support for the aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom and dignity. He also commended the role being played by the Turkish forces and the Syrian National Army in the preservation of the territorial integrity of Syria and freeing Afrin from the terrorist PYD militias.
Moreover, President Mustafa commended SIG’s efforts to provide services to the local population. He said that SIG’s teams have experience in local administration, the development of projects, and the provision of essential services to the population in addition to the rehabilitation and maintenance of infrastructure.
President Mustafa expressed hope for increased cooperation with friendly countries to provide SIG with sufficient support to implement projects aimed at easing the suffering of the civilian population. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa welcomed the outcome of the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council and the recently issued statement by the G7 group. He stressed the need to relaunch the political process and reach a political solution in order to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people.
Mustafa also stressed the need for the international community to maintain the momentum against the crimes of the Assad regime, Russia and Iran in Syria. This momentum should be exploited to launch a real political process leading to a political solution through the formation of a Transitional Governing Body (TGB) without Bashar al-Assad and all war criminals.
Real political transition in Syria will ensure the withdrawal of the Iranian militias, restore stability to the region, and enable refugees to return to their homes, Mustafa added.
Mustafa underscored that the crimes of the Assad regime and Russia against Syrian civilians, including the repeated use of chemical weapons, require a strong response from the international community to put an end to these crimes and establish a ceasefire as well as ensure the lifting the sieges and the release of detainees.
"We are in dire need to relaunch a political process and resume negotiations in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council Resolution 2254," Mustafa said. He stressed that Russia must stop supporting the Assad regime and the disabling of the UN Security Council, adding that Moscow risks jeopardizing its interests by continuing to pursue its current policies.
EU foreign ministers and leaders of the G7 group stressed the need to relaunch a political solution to the conflict in the framework of the UN-led Geneva process and UN Security Council resolutions 2254. They also strongly condemned the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons as a blatant violation of international law and human dignity. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition and ‘The Day After’ organization held a workshop on Law No. 10 and its consequences on the Syrian people. Judges, lawyers, administration officials, constitutional experts as well as technical experts from the association of engineers and technical departments in municipalities, state property and real estate register participated in the workshop.
Participants said that the Law No. 10 is an attempt to legitimize the crime of mass forced displacement as it is aimed at paving the way for confiscating the Syrians’ property and granting it to Assad regime loyalists. They warned that this newly introduced legalization is designed to serve the large-scale demographic change operations taking place in Syria.
Participants stressed that the move is aimed at consolidating the Iranian influence through non-military means by allowing Iranian companies to seize strategic and vital areas in Damascus and its suburbs, Aleppo, Homs, and Deir Ezzor under the pretext of reorganizing the destroyed areas.
Participants put forward a set of recommendations that included the establishment of an executive body to follow up on the developments with regard to the new law and to challenge the Assad regime’s legitimacy to introduce new legalizations. They expressed outright rejection of the new legalization as an attempt by the Iranian and Assad regimes to confiscate the property of the displaced persons and refugees.
Moreover, participants warned that the new law would allow rebuilding contracts to go to the new owners, which serves the Assad regime plans to change the demographic landscape in Syria. The new legalization also prevents the return of refugees to their homes in the future. Participants called on the international community to preserve the rights of Syrians and their property and prevent Iran from implementing its sectarian project in the region.
Participants gave an overview of the historical context of the real estate laws and the urban planning regulations currently in force. They examined Law No. 10 and all similar laws, such as Decree No. 66 and the ‘absentee funds management law’ as well as discussed their possible consequences. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)