Syrian Coalition officials met with a delegation from the British Foreign Office on Thursday. Both sides discussed the latest field developments in Syria as well as the violations being committed by the Assad regime against civilians and the obstacles preventing the return of displaced persons and refugees to their homes.
The meeting also discussed the latest developments in the political process and the Coalition’s important role in the political scene as well as within the Syrian Negotiations Commission. Both sides also discussed the Coalition’s plan of action for the next phase, including ways to step up efforts in the liberated areas and activate the role of its institutions in the provision of services to the civilian population, especially for those who were displaced from other parts of Syria.
Vice-President of the Syrian Coalition, Dima Moussa, underscored that a political solution in Syria will not succeed without full supervision by the United Nations and the implementation of international resolutions on Syria, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. She also pointed to the need to achieve a comprehensive political transition without Bashar al-Assad and his clique who are responsible for thousands of crimes of war.
"We continue to believe that a solution in Syria is a political one and through the United Nations in accordance with international resolutions," Moussa said. She emphasized the important role of "our allies and friends" in supporting this path as well as supporting the opposition and the Syrian Coalition in a way that serves the goal of the political process, namely to meet the demands of the Syrian people for freedom and dignity.
Moussa highlighted the tragic living conditions those who have been recently displaced are going through. "The Assad regime, with the help of its allies, are carrying on with the killings and mass forced displacement of the population. They also continue to detain Syrians in underground dungeons with their fate is still unknown.”
Moreover, Moussa called for preventing the implementation of Law No. 10 which the Assad regime lately issued with the aim of consolidating mass forced displacement and demographic change by preventing refugees from returning to their homes. She stressed the need to raise the issue at the international level. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Demonstrations demanding that the militias of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) withdraw from the city continued for the second day on Tuesday. President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa stressed that Syrians would not accept tyranny or terrorist organizations.
‘Al-Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently’ media campaign on Wednesday said that anti-PYD demonstrations continued on Tuesday, adding that they demanded an end to arbitrary arrests and forced recruitment as well as the immediate withdrawal of the PYD militia from the city.
The largest demonstrations, which took place in the neighborhoods of Mushallab and Al-Saqia, came under fire by the PYD militia, according to media campaign, which added that the PYD militia detained at least four demonstrators.
"Our free people will not accept tyranny or the rule of terrorist organizations after they have revolted against Assad's terrorism,” Mustafa said in comments he posted on Twitter. “Our free people will not accept the Assad regime to be replaced by any another form of terrorism.” He noted that violations by the PYD militia are as grave as those being committed by the Assad regime.
Mustafa praised demonstrators in Raqqa, Deir Ezzor and Hassakah who are demanding that the PYD militia withdraw from their areas.
The Syrian Coalition earlier said that the PYD militia is copying the same repressive policies the Assad regime pursues to terrorize and intimidate the Syrian people.
The Syrian Coalition condemned the crimes and violations being committed by the PYD militia, calling for a complete and immediate cessation of all forms of support for the militia. It denounced the lukewarm position being shown by some countries towards the terrorist threat the PYD militia poses.
Demonstrations continued in areas controlled by the PYD militia in response to the large-scale arrest campaigns aimed at forced recruitment of the young men which caused popular anger among residents Raqqa and Hasaka cites and resulted in clashes between local residents and the PYD militia. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Assad regime has passed Law No.10 to allow itself to seize private property, displace residents, and discourage refugees from returning, Human Rights Watch said in a new report published Tuesday.
The New York-based group said that Law 10 empowers authorities to confiscate property without compensating the owners or giving them an opportunity to appeal. The law, which the Assad regime is promoting as an urban planning measure, will create a major obstacle to returning home for displaced residents.
"Law 10 is a worrisome addition to the Syrian government's arsenal of 'urban planning laws' that it has used to confiscate property without due process or compensation," said HRW's deputy Middle East director Lama Fakih.
"Countries and donors supporting reconstruction in Syria have a responsibility to consider the obstacles this law poses to returning for millions of displaced Syrians," she said.
HRW added that the new law also provides a formal framework for ownership of the land to revert to the Syrian government, which is empowered to award reconstruction and development contracts to corporations or investors and pay them with shares in the zone.
The Syrian Coalition said that the reconstruction process must take place only after the return of the displaced people and the reaching of a comprehensive political transition. The remarks were made during a workshop held in cooperation with the Day After organization.
The Coalition warned that the new law is aimed at consolidating the mass forced displacement and demographic change operations. In a letter sent to leaders of the friendly countries, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League, the Coalition highlighted the grave implications of the law as it stressed that it serves Iran’s plans to consolidate its influence in Syria.
Displaced residents, particularly those from areas considered to be anti-government, will be more vulnerable to property seizure under Law No. 10, HRW warned. According to the UN Refugee Agency, over 11 million Syrians have been displaced either internally or to host countries since the start of the Syrian conflict. Many will not be able to return to their properties to make a claim themselves, and the 30-day window for sending a relative or an agent will be insurmountable for many. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa met the Dutch Special Envoy to Syria Gerard Steeghs and discussed with him the war crimes being committed by the Assad regime and the Iranian terrorist militias against the civilians in Syria.
The meeting discussed prospects for reinvigorating the UN-led political process in Geneva as both sides stressed the need to work for a political solution in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254 and achieve a comprehensive political transition in Syria.
President Mustafa condemned allowing the Assad regime to take over the rotational presidency of the UN disarmament forum on chemical and nuclear weapons, stressing that it was shock to humanity's conscience and a ruthless betrayal of victims of the Assad's chemical attacks, which exceeded 200 ones.
President Mustafa warned of the grave implications of Law No. 10 which the Assad regime has issued recently as it allows the regime to confiscate property of Syrian refuges and the displaced people under the pretext of rezoning the destroyed areas. He cautioned that such measure would prevent the return of refugees to their areas of origin.
Moreover, President Mustafa pointed out that such measure is aimed at bestowing legitimacy to the mass forced displacement being carried out by the Assad regime as well as its Russian and Iranian allies in various areas across Syria. He underscored that these acts constituted war crimes that are punishable under international law.
President Mustafa called for protecting civilians in Idlib province which has became densely-populated especially after the arrival of large numbers of displaced persons from other parts of Syria.
President Mustafa stressed that humanitarian assistance needs to be urgently provided to the displaced people as he noted that large numbers of civilians, mostly children and women, are without adequate shelter or food.
The Syrian Coalition is working to provide services to the local population in the liberated areas through the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) and the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU), President Mustafa said. He added that the Coalition is continuing to work on the formation of local councils to ensure real, adequate representation of the local communities. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition denounced the Assad regime’s presidency of the UN-backed disarmament forum on chemical & nuclear weapons, saying it would will be “a shock for the conscience of humanity and a betrayal for the victims of these chemical attacks” numbering over 200.
In a letter sent Saturday to 18 countries, President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa called for a boycott of the forum during the four weeks of Assad's presidency. The letter was sent to the governments of the United States, Britain, Turkey, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Switzerland, Finland, New Zealand and the Ukraine.
President Mustafa warned that allowing the Assad regime’s to chair such conference risks “undermining the UN’s credibility and the integrity of disarmament framework.” He underscored that “the Assad regime’s use of deadly chemical and unconventional weapons and its illegal pursuit of nuclear weapons is a breach of its disarmament obligations and run counter to the objectives and fundamental principles of the Conference on Disarmament.”
“The Assad regime has flagrantly violated the chemical weapons convention and the UNSC resolutions. It was documented by the OPCW – UN Joint Investigative Mechanism in its report submitted to the UN Security Council on 25th October 2017. This regime has gassed the Syrian people to death on 21st August 2013 for the first time, and least but not last on 7th April 2018.”
The letter added: “Indeed, ‘having the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad preside over global chemical and nuclear weapons disarmament will be like putting a serial rapist (Jack the Ripper) in charge of a women’s shelter,’ as said by Mr. Hillel Neuer, the executive director of the United National Watch.” According to the executive director of UN Wacth, a Geneva-based non-governmental organization,
“We count on our good friends to spare no effort to ensure an end is put to the suffering of the Syrian people, to hold the perpetrators accountable, and to finally fulfill their just demands of freedom, dignity and justice,” President Mustafa added.
The Conference on Disarmament was established in 1979 during a special session of the UN General Assembly. It comprised 65 states that have been divided according to four core issues in recent years. With three sessions usually held each year, the chair of the Conference rotates every four working weeks following the English alphabetical list of membership. Decisions are made by consensus. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition condemned the assassination of civil defense volunteers in Aleppo province by unknown gunmen, stressing that attacking the civil defense volunteers is like attacking one’s doctor.
Unknown gunmen assaulted a civil defense center in the town of Tal Hadiyah in rural Aleppo at dawn today, killing four volunteers and wounding three others before fleeing.
Eyewitnesses in the town reported that unidentified gunmen riding in a porter vehicle attacked the civil defense center in the town located near the town of Hadir in southern rural Aleppo.
Activists pointed out that the gunmen also stole all equipment in the center, such as vehicles and mobile phones belonging to the slain volunteers.
The Coalition stressed the need for the concerned authorities in the area to go after the criminals and bring them to justice as soon as possible, stressing that attacking volunteers who brave death to save lives of civilians is tantamount to attacking innocent civilians everywhere.
A similar attack previously targeted civil defense volunteers, also Known as the White Helmets, in the town of Sarmin in eastern rural Idlib last year. The attackers shot dead all the volunteers inside and stole equipment in the center before they fled.
The White Helmets first emerged in 2012 to help victims of the Assad regime attacks on civilian areas. The organization received several international awards and was nominated by foreign and Syrian activists for the 2016 Nobel Prize.
The volunteer group, which was officially founded in October 2014, has 150 centers distributed across all the liberated areas in Syria. It carries out search and rescue operations among the rubble of bombed buildings and extinguish fires caused by the Assad regime and its allies’ attacks. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Baladi News Network)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa met with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Thursday and discussed with him the latest political and field developments in Syria.
Mustafa emphasized the strong, strategic relationship with Turkey that is based on continued support for the Syrian Coalition and its institutions, particularly the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) as he stressed the importance of empowering SIG in the liberated areas.
Mustafa also stressed the need to consolidate the ceasefire and reinvigorate the negotiating process in Geneva in order to achieve a comprehensive political transition in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. He also called for urging Russia to force the Assad regime to seriously engage in the political process.
Moreover, Mustapha stressed the need to hold accountable perpetrators of war crimes in Syria, chief among them is Bashar al-Assad and his clique especially after it has been found responsible for the repeated use of chemical weapons and other internationally prohibited weapons as well as the mass killings and displacement of millions of Syrians.
President Mustafa thanked the government and people of Turkey for their efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people which has been ongoing since 2011 as a result of the crimes the Assad regime is committing to cling to power and its refusal of a peaceful transition in the country and the insistence on pursuing a bloody military solution. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The past few days have seen increasing violations by the militia of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) against civilians and displaced persons in the areas under its control. The Syrian Coalition has strongly condemned these violations, most notably the murder, arbitrary arrests and torture of civilians. The Coalition said that the PYD militia is copying the Assad regime’s repressive policies aimed at intimidating and terrorizing Syrian civilians.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Coalition called for a complete and immediate cessation of all forms of support for the PYD militia as it denounced the lukewarm position some countries are showing towards the terrorist threat being posed by this militia.
The Coalition affirmed its condemnation of these violations, kidnappings and intimidation of the civilian population as it expressed its full solidarity with the local residents and the internally displaced persons who went on a general strike in Manbij to protest against these violations.
“The PYD militia responded to the strike by opening fire at the shops whose owners closed down, an act that is reminiscent of the Assad regime's attempts to suppress the popular uprising in its infancy,” the Coalition said.
“The reprehensible crimes and violations being committed by the PYD militia also affected the IDPs as the militia is preventing them from returning to their villages and towns in the Afrin area.”
The PYD militia kidnapped several displaced households, including women and children, and took them to an unknown location. PYD militiamen also seized identity cards of residents of the IDPs camps to force them to stay inside. Two of the displaced people were killed after the PYD militia opened fire to disperse a demonstration that the IDPs staged to demand that they are allowed to return to their homes in Afrin.
The Coalition called attention to hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced from the areas that are currently under the control of the PYD militia, stressing the need to allow them to return to their towns and villages and provide guarantees for their safety.
The PYD “terrorist” militia launched a campaign of arrests, kidnappings and house-to-house raids in eastern rural Raqqa, the town of Manbij in rural Aleppo, and Hasaka province searching for young men to forcibly recruit them into its ranks. The militias also violently detained a number of people in rural Raqqa and took them to an unknown destination under false pretexts and accusations. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-President of the Syrian Coalition, Dima Moussa, warned that Law No. 10 which has been recently issued by the Assad regime will have many negative consequences for the political process and political transition that was outlined in the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Moussa made these remarks during a workshop that was organized by the Day After, an independent, Syrian-led civil society organization. Participants in the workshop, who included judges, lawyers, legal experts as well as representatives of states and international organizations, discussed the legal, political, and economic aspects of the new legalization.
Moussa underscored that the Assad regime’s issuance of the new law while talk about the drafting of a new constitution is underway was a further proof of the regime’s lack of seriousness about the whole political process and of its insistence on pursuing a bloody military solution to the conflict.
Law No. 10 will also risk preventing the bringing about of a comprehensive political transition as was stipulated by UN resolutions on Syria, Moussa said. She cautioned that the new law would prevent the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes, which will pose a new problem for the electoral process as it would make it difficult to identify the areas where voters live.
Moreover, Moussa pointed out that the Assad regime is trying to cover up the war crimes its forces have committed over the past seven years by destroying all evidence about these crimes. This will hinder investigations into war crimes and violations and complicate efforts to achieve transitional justice, she added.
A number of countries, most notably Germany, also criticized Law No. 10. The German Foreign Ministry said it was "deeply angered" by Assad's latest decree because it amounted to property dispossession of Syrian refugees "on a great scale.” The Ministry also said the legislative promulgation was an apparent attempt to fundamentally modify local conditions "to the benefit of the regime and its supporters and hinder the return of a huge number of Syrians."
Chief the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea described the new law as "very dangerous" as it risks preventing the return of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Echoing the same concerns, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri described the new measure as "fraudulent." He noted that the new law is solely aimed at preventing the displaced Syrians from returning to their country and threatens hundreds of thousands of displaced people to confiscate their property if they do not return within a specific period. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
A Syrian Coalition official said that Russia is repeating in Syria the forced migration and genocide it committed against the Circassians in the North Caucasus back in 1864.
On the occasion of the "Circassian Day of Mourning", which falls on May 21, member of the Syrian Coalition and former Vice-president Salwa Aksoy on Monday said that Russia is responsible for the mass murder and forced migration of more than two million Circassians. She said that Russia is repeating the same crime in Syria following its aggression on the country.
Aksoy said that the mass forced displacement taking place in different parts of Syria is a repeat of these operations. She added that the international community has a responsibility today to stop these terrorist practices against the Syrian people, stressing the right of all civilians to return to their homes and areas of origin.
Aksoy also called upon the United Nations to activate the international neutral mechanism to hold war criminals accountable and to prevent any further mass forced displacement.
In a report released on Sunday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that the Russian forces have killed no fewer than 6,133 Syrian civilians, including 1,761 children and 661 women since the start of its direct military intervention in Syria in September 2015.
The Network said that it had recorded at least 939 attacks on vital civilian centers in Syria by the Russian forces, including 169 attacks on schools, 167 on medical facilities, 140 on mosques, and 55 attacks on public markets. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)