Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition, Nazir al-Hakim, stressed the need to provide international support and protection to civilians in northern Syria and to prevent any military attacks by the Assad regime and its allies against civilians and vital civilian facilities there.
Hakim was speaking at a teleconference with Hama Provincial Council. In addition to Hakim, the teleconference brought together members of the political committee Hawass Khalil and Abdul Majid Barakat as well as head of the Council Nafie Barazi and members Najib Rahmoun, Abu Faisal Hamawi, Mohammed Amin, Alaa Khalil, Ahmed Sabah, Badie Al-Omar, and Abu Usama Qablan.
Hakim stressed the need to improve the performance of the service institutions and its connection with the ministries of the Syrian Interim Government in order to meet the needs of the forcibly displaced people in northern Syria and ease their suffering. “We need to work together to help the displaced people safely and honorably return to their homes and areas.”
Hakim described the presence of Turkish observation points in northern Syria as "reassuring,” adding that the presence of these points can help improve the work of service institutions and complete the projects that were launched by local councils and the Syrian Interim Government. However, Hakim did not rule out military escalation by the regime and its allies in the north.
For his part, Barazi pointed out that the Council cannot cope with the needs of the huge wave of displaced people who arrived in northern rural Hama due to the insufficient resources. He pointed out that shelling by the Assad regime forces on many towns and villages in the area, albeit intermittent, has further increased the suffering of the local population and the displaced people, especially as the shelling is targeting vital civilian centers.
Towns and villages in northern and northwestern rural Hama have been subjected to heavy shelling since Monday’s night. Rocket and artillery shelling killed a three-year-old girl and wounded her brother and mother in the town of Latamina on Monday. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa warned that any attack on Idlib by the Assad regime and its allies would lead to catastrophic consequences as the province is home to more than two million civilians, most of whom were forcibly displaced from other parts of Syria. He stressed the need for the United Nations to prevent any such attack.
Speaking to Turkish media at the headquarters of the Syrian Coalition in Istanbul, Mustafa said that the Coalition "takes these threats seriously.” He noted that “there are two million Syrians in Idlib. They have no other place for to go.”
He pointed out that Turkey's support for the Syrian revolution, the enormous aid it provides for the refugees and displaced persons, and the support it provided for the Free Syrian Army to defeat terrorist groups “make us optimistic that Idlib will not see such scenario."
“The Assad regime and its allies sought to displace Syrian civilians to Idlib province. Turkey is seeking through political and diplomatic means to prevent an attack on Idlib as it is a guarantor of the ‘de-escalation zone’ in Idlib. Turkey is also the only country that is still on side of the Syrian people," Mustafa added.
“With Iranian support, the Assad regime continues to pursue the policy of mass forced displacement, including most recently in Dara’a province. This took place after the United States discharged its obligations as a guarantor in the south. Idlib is now in the crosshairs of Assad’s policy of mass forced displacement. We hope that the same threat will not recur.”
Mustafa underscored that the Coalition supports any political solution that is likely to put an end to the bloodshed in Syria and fulfills the aspirations of the Syrian people. “We have participated in various conferences but we want the solution to be under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva talks in which we have participated since 2014. The Assad regime and its allies have not engaged seriously in these talks.”
Mustafa pointed out that Assad regime’s recapture of more areas does not mean that it is winning. "When the revolution broke out, there was no territory under the control of Syrian rebels. The Syrian people continue to make immense sacrifices. The solution is political rather than military."
The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria and the continued crimes against civilians are due to the failure of the international community to honor its duties. “We have reached this situation because the international community has failed to punish the criminal.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition, Bader Jamous, stressed that the Assad regime’s handover of lists of names of detainees who died under torture in its prisons to civil registry offices revealed the multitude of war crimes and crimes against humanity taking place in regime-run detention centers. He stressed that the United Nations and the International Commission of Inquiry must not turn a blind eye to these crimes.
The disclosure of these crimes, which occur under the cover of darkness, has once again showed the Assad regime’s lack of seriousness about engaging with the United Nations and the implementation of international resolutions on Syria. He called on the International Commission of Inquiry to investigate these crimes along with thousands crimes the Assad regime committed over the past few years.
The Assad regime is taking revenge on those who revolted against its rule, Jamous said, adding that the regime, its allies, and the United Nations are equally responsible for not taking any deterrent measures to stop these massacres.
The Assad regime has recently been issuing death notices to families of detainees who were killed under torture. Human rights activists said that the lists included 1,000 names of detainees from the Damascus suburb of Daraya, 750 from Hasakah, 550 from Aleppo, 460 from the Damascus suburb of Muamdiyya, and 30 from the town of Yabroud in Rural Damascus.
Jamous went on to say that the disclosure aims "to mitigate the disaster when Russia will force the Assad regime to release detainees in its prisons. As the Assad regime killed tens of thousands of detainees under torture, the disclosure of the whole number will cause a major shock.
“We are deeply worried of the continued killing in the prisons of the Assad regime which is seeking to get rid of as many detainees as possible, taking advantage of this utter international silence.”
Jamous pointed out that the Assad regime’s issuance of death certificates will make it easier for the regime to confiscate the deceased’s property under Law No. 10, through which the regime plans to carry out large demographic changes in the country. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Kurdish National Council called for the commemoration of the second anniversary of the bloody terrorist bombings that targeted the town of Qamishli on July 27, 2017. The Council called upon its supporters and residents of the town to gather at the site of the bombing on Friday evening.
In a statement, the Council called for the commemoration of the bloody attack, calling on residents of the town to gather in the western side of the town, at Amouda road.
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Abdel Basset Hamo said that the bloody terrorist bombings that targeted Qamishli and its people were intended to instill fear and terrorism in the town. "The circumstances of the crime have not been disclosed yet, especially the way the truck carrying explosives reached the center of the town through checkpoints.” He hinted the responsibility of the Assad regime for the attack, along with ISIS.
The Qamishli bombings killed dozens of people, including women and children as a result of a truck bomb explosion which also led to massive destruction to residential buildings.
Hamo pointed out that he was surprised by the sudden emergence of ISIS militants in the center of the town after travelling long distances. He noted that the attack was accompanied by threats by the Assad regime against residents of the town, which he considered as a systematic policy to force the local population to surrender.
Three terrorist bombings rocked Swaida on Wednesday and were followed by a criminal attack on villages and towns near the city. The attacks killed about 300 people.
Hamo stressed that what happened in Swaida is similar to the one that took place in Qamishli two years ago. He strongly condemned the terrorist attacks, which he said were aimed at creating chaos and terrorizing the population.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee Hawass Saadoun stressed the need to strengthen the spirit of solidarity amongst components of the Syrian people and to stand against all terrorist operations taking place in Syria.
"We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims in Qamishli, Swaida and all other cities and towns where such explosions took place," Saadoun said. He expressed hope that the root cause of chaos and terrorism in Syria, namely the Assad regime, will be defeated.
Saadoun pointed out that all such bombings took place at particularly sensitive times and, adding that "it is clear that they have political and military objectives." (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr al-Hariri, said that the return of Syrian refugees would be an early and wrong step before a full political solution is reached. He warned that the Assad regime and its security services as well as the Iranian terrorist militias would commit widespread crimes against returnees as a retaliation against rebel fighters.
In comments he posted on Twitter on Thursday, Hariri said that Syria now lacks a secure, the safe environment for the return of millions of refugees. Syrian refugees fled Syria to escape oppression by the Assad regime’s military, security apparatuses, and the sectarian militias that are linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Hariri stressed that the return of refugees and displaced persons is vital, important and strategic and is in the interest of Syria and its people. "But it is wrong to go on this step before reaching a comprehensive political solution."
"This will put the lives of millions of Syrians under real threat of reprisals by the Assad regime as they will once again live under tyranny and oppression," Hariri said.
"The issue of the Syrian refugees and the economic, security and social burdens being caused by their presence in the host countries are among the priorities that the Commission is working to address as a comprehensive package within the framework of the desired political solution under the auspices of the United Nations. This framework is aimed at creating a safe, appropriate environment for the return of refugees."
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Badr Jamous earlier said that the return of Syrian refugees and displaced persons is contingent on bringing about a political transition and the creation of a safe, stable environment in Syria, which is unrealizable under the current conditions.
Jamous called on the United Nations, especially friendly countries, to abstain from deporting Syrian refugees in these “dangerous and unsafe conditions". He stressed the need to take full responsibility for the protection of civilians and refugees in accordance with international conventions. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Departmen)
Head of the National Commission on the Defense of Detainees, Yasser Al-Farhan, said that the Assad regime indicted itself by issuing lists of detainees who died under torture in its prisons. He said that these lists represented compelling evidence of the regime’s responsibility for the kidnapping and enforced disappearance of those detainees.
The Assad regime is committing multiple crimes against the dead detainees by burying them in mass graves, hiding their bodies and refusing to hand them over to their families, delaying the issuance of death certificates, and not allowing competent international bodies to conduct medical examinations and investigations.
Farhan added that the town of Daraya, the symbol of the Syrian revolution and civil peace as it faced the regime's guns with flowers and slogans of unity and tolerance, is the real face of the revolution. The Assad regime wanted to conceal this face from the world by forcibly disappearing symbols and leaders of the peaceful movement then killing them under torture. The regime bears full responsibility for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, he added.
Farhan stressed the need to hold accountable perpetrators of enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention. He called upon the international community to assume its moral responsibility, citing the visit the ambassadors of the major countries made to the town of Daraya to offer condolences to the family of Ghiyath Mattar in 2011. He said that the international community left Mattar’s fellow activists to be tortured to death in the tyrant's prisons and did nothing to save them.
Farhan pointed out that the Assad regime’s issuance of names of detainees who died under torture without investigating the causes of death and handing over the bodies as well as its preventing people from offering condolences to families of the victims constituted crimes contravening all international and divine laws and ethics. Such behavior exposed the Assad regime’s lack of any moral and human sense.
On behalf of the Syrian Coalition, Farhan offered condolences to families of victims of torture. “Every drop of the blood of our fallen heroes, such as Yahya Sharbaji, Ma’an Sharbaji, Salah Naqshbandi, and thousands of their comrades all across Syria are seeds of the revolution that will once grow as a homage to our fallen heroes. Our fallen heroes will only increase the Syrian people’s determination to achieve their goals of freedom, justice and dignity.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)
The Syrian Coalition condemned the criminal attack that was carried out by the ISIS extremist group targeting civilians in Swaida on Wednesday. The attack claimed the lives of around 250 people and left another 200 injured, mostly civilians.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Coalition emphasized the responsibility of the Assad regime's forces for enabling ISIS to carry out such criminal operations in view of the ability of the attackers to travel long distances and bypass several regime checkpoints to reach Swaida and commit this horrific crime.
“The Assad regime is also to blame for this bloody attack given its primary role in enabling ISIS to grow and fester and allowing it to commit crimes against the Syrian people,” the Coalition added.
The Coalition offered its sincere condolences to the families of the victims as it wished the wounded speedy recovery. “Those responsible for this crime and all crimes committed in Syria as well as those who aided and abetted the criminals will ultimately face justice for their actions.”
The ISIS extremist group on Wednesday launched large-scale, surprise attack on villages in eastern Swaida province following the Assad regime’s unexpected withdrawal of forces from these villages. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Members of the Syrian Coalition expressed hope that the UNICEF’s decision to make redundant hundreds of Syrian teachers in the Za'tari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan would not be part of a policy aimed at forcing Syrian refugees to leave the countries where they had taken refuge.
The UN’s children agency decided to fire as many as 675 Syrian teachers working in 29 schools inside the Za'tari camp. The teachers were informed of the decision at a meeting held on Tuesday.
Secretary of the Coalition’s political committee Riad al-Hassan said that such decision risked increasing the pressure Russia is exercising on Syrian refugees to force them to return to regime-held areas. The decision also contravened international covenants and resolutions on Syria which underscored that the return of refugees must be voluntary in a safe, stable environment.
"The Assad regime has unleashed its monsters on the streets to kill, arrest, torture and even burn people alive," Hassan said.
Hassan stressed that the security situation in Syria is chaotic, adding that "Russia is unable to ensure the safety of returnees.” He also said that the Assad regime lost control of the situation on the ground, especially of the Iranian-backed militias which are deployed everywhere in Syria.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee and Head of the Refugees Department, Amal Sheikho, stressed that the return of refugees to the regime-held areas amid rampant field executions, arbitrary detention, and enforced disappearance put the lives of returnees at huge risk.
Sheikho called on the international community and human rights organizations to oppose these plans, defend the rights of Syrian refugees, and protect them from the grim fate that awaits them in case they were forced to return to the regime-held areas.
According to UN estimates, there are 6.1 million internally displaced people in Syria and 5.5 million more in neighboring countries, Europe, Canada and other countries. Children and women account for about 70 percent of the total number of displaced people. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition said that the Russian Foreign Ministry's recent slander against the White Helmets is due to the organization's possession of material containing evidence about crimes being committed by the Russian and Assad regime’s air forces against Syrian civilians.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Coalition said that “the Russian Foreign Ministry's recent slander on the White Helmets has revealed a deep desire to take revenge on the rescue group. It has revealed how Russia sees this organization as a real threat to the criminals and their supporters, especially with regard to the legal aspect.”
“Since its inception, the White Helmets has documented a long series of crimes against the Syrian people, taking photographs, preparing reports, keeping audio and video recordings, taking testimonies of survivors and civilians on the targeted areas. This material represents evidence capable of proving the responsibility of the Assad regime and Russia for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of international law,” the Coalition added.
The Coalition went on: “The viscous smear campaigns against the White Helmets will only bring shame and disgrace to those who are seeking to discredit this aid group. They are just an extension of the repeated targeting of the White Helmets volunteers with rockets and barrel bombs.”
“The Syrian Civil Defense has lost 251 volunteers since it was established, most of whom were killed in double-tap airstrikes by the Assad regime and Russian aircraft which target the same area twice in order to kill the first responders.”
On behalf of the Syrian people, the Coalition paid tribute to the volunteers of the Syrian Civil Defense Corps as it reaffirmed that their efforts would always be highly appreciated by the Syrian people and all the supporters of what is right, freedom and humanity all over the world.
“Around 3,750 volunteers are still working with the Syrian civil defense. Hundreds of them are facing a grim fate as they are still denied safe exit from Syria’s south, which requires intervention by the United Nations.”
The Coalition concluded its press released by stressing that the White Helmets would “remain a symbol of selfless devotion and humanity. Their efforts and heroism will continue to be a source of pride and appreciation. As they have a great role in saving and caring for civilians, their testimony will serve as compelling evidence condemning criminals and their backers. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition, Bader Jamous, said that the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes is contingent on bringing about political transition and the establishment of a safe and stable environment in Syria.
Jamous pointed out that the Assad regime and its security services continue to arrest political dissidents and activists and subject them to brutal torture.
The Assad regime forces are attacking rebel-held areas, transforming them from safe areas to hell on earth by unleashing its air force to rain bombs and missiles on these areas, Jamous said. He raised questions about the fate of refugees if they were forced to return to the regime-held areas.
Jamous pointed out that the return of refugees should be cautiously arranged and supervised by the United Nations in accordance with international laws, stressing that this process must not contravene the Geneva Communiqué and the UN Security Council resolution 2254 regarding a political solution in Syria.
“There will be no safe environment in Syria as long as the Assad regime and its intelligence and security services are there, not to mention the Iranian terrorist militias who have committed the most heinous crimes against civilians for more than seven years.”
Jamous called on the United Nations, especially friendly countries, to resist attempts to return Syrian refugees in these “adverse, unfavorable circumstances. He also reiterated the need to provide protection for civilians and refugees in accordance with international conventions. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)