The National Commission on Detainees and Missing Persons said that the Assad regime is seeking to conceal the real number of detainees who are being killed in its prisons by ordering civil registries to register their deaths. It stressed that this amounted to striking evidence of the Assad regime’s responsibility for their enforced disappearance, calling for holding senior regime officials to account for crimes against humanity.
The Commission renewed calls on the UN Security Council to address the tragic situation in the prisons and detention centers of the Assad regime with some sense of human responsibility and to take a bold decision to refer the war crimes in Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
Reports by rights groups have recently indicated that “the Assad regime manipulates the civil registry by ordering civil registry officials to register the death of detainees, which amounts to striking evidence of the Assad regime’s responsibility for their enforced disappearance.”
“Rights groups’ reports highlighted the brutal methods of torture the Assad regime uses against detainees, including mutilation, beatings with metal rods, burning them with cigarettes, and other methods that lead to death during or because of torture,” the Commission said. “The Assad regime has also been involved in extrajudicial executions and physical liquidation of detainees.”
“Moreover, reports by independent rights groups presented compelling evidence about the responsibility of senior regime officials for these crimes and violations. The reports stressed that those officials must be held accountable, especially as international human rights law stressed that authorities are responsible for the safety of detainees and says they must prove if the death was natural through serious medical examination and impartial investigations.”
“It is imperative that the international community, civil and human rights organizations and activists who advocates freedom and human dignity around the world to work seriously to save the lives of tens of thousands of young men, women, men, old men and children. The issue of detainees needs to be addressed in accordance with the basic human rights that everyone on earth must uphold.”
The National Commission on Detainees and Missing Persons was formed by a decision of the Syrian Coalition. It works independently and in coordination with human rights organizations and international organizations to ensure the release of detainees and putting an end to torture and physical liquidation. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition called on the international community, the UN Security Council and human rights organizations to take urgent action to stop the Assad regime and allies’ brutal bombardment of rural Dara’a and Quneitra.
A whole family was killed when Assad’s warplanes targeted a tractor carrying civilians in rural Quneitra in the early morning hours of Thursday. The tractor, which was carrying people returning to Dara’a province, was travelling on the road connecting the towns of Nawa and Rafid.
Local activists said that the Assad regime is seeking to cut off the roads connecting Nawa with Quneitra province by targeting all vehicles traveling on those roads. Tens of thousands of civilians in Nawa are now trapped inside the town.
The Syrian Coalition urged the UN Human Rights Council to open the dossier of war crimes in Syria, hold the Assad regime officials accountable, and address attempts by Iran and Russia to displace more Syrians from their land and homes.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Coalition said that the UN Security Council cannot be exempted from its responsibility by simply turning a blind eye to the facts on the ground and massacres taking place. “Member States cannot shirk their duties and responsibilities towards what is happening. They are obliged to take urgent action to stop these crimes and protect civilians if they are to save the face of the international body.”
Dozens of civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in separate massacres caused by Assad regime and Russian airstrikes on the border villages in Quneitra and Dera’a in the past two days.
Local activists said that a whole family of eight children and two women were killed in aerial bombardment of the town of Nawa. The hysterical bombings also knocked out only operational field hospital in the town, forcing local residents to move the injured to distant places for treatment. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
A delegation of the Syrian Coalition headed by President Abdurrahman Mustafa visited the town of Afrin in northern rural Aleppo on Wednesday. In addition to President Mustafa, the delegation included Vice-president Badr Jamous, Secretary General Nazir al-Hakim, Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission Nasr al-Hariri, and Head of the Syrian Interim Government Jawad Abu Hatab.
The delegation reviewed the work of the institutions providing essential services for residents and checked out the living conditions in the area. They also met with a number of families who briefed the delegation about the major problems and challenges facing them.
The delegation also met with heads of local councils in the area and representatives of the military police at the office of the local council in Afrin.
President Mustafa stressed the need to develop the work of local councils and strengthen the role of the civilian police to restore stability in the region. He pointed out that life began to return to normalcy in Afrin after the ouster of the PYD militia with the support of the Turkish army.
Mustafa added that a large part of residents of Afrin returned to their areas and homes after the consolidation of security and the rehabilitation of services institutions. He underscored that this helped restore life in the area to normalcy and the development of civil administration systems in the areas in which the Syrian Interim Government operates.
Mustafa also stressed the need to strengthen relations with all revolutionary bodies and institutions in the liberated areas. He also stressed the need for coordinating efforts to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom and dignity. He pointed out that the Syrian Coalition is preparing to open offices in all liberated areas. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
A delegation of the Syrian Coalition headed by President Abdurrahman Mustafa toured northern rural Aleppo on Tuesday, visiting the towns of Al-Raie and Al-Bab. In addition to President Mustafa, the delegation included Vice-president Badr Jamous, Secretary General Nazir al-Hakim, Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission Nasr al-Hariri, and Head of the Syrian Interim Government Jawad Abu Hatab.
The delegation met with representatives of the local councils in the area, officials in the chambers of commerce and industry, the police force and the Free Syrian Army groups. The delegation was briefed on the reality of the service institutions in the liberated areas.
President Mustafa thanked all officials for the services they are providing for civilians in the liberated areas. He stressed that the Coalition is seeking to strengthen the relationship with everyone in these areas, which comes as part of the presidential plan for the next phase.
President Mustafa pointed out that work is underway to open offices of the Coalition in all liberated areas, with the first of these offices to be opened in the town of Al-Raie.
Moreover, President Mustafa stressed the need to strengthen the relationship and permanent communication between the Syrian Coalition and all institutions operating in the liberated areas. He pointed out that this will contribute to the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve the objectives of the Syrian revolution, namely freedom and dignity and the toppling of the regime.
Nasr Al-Hariri gave on overview of the latest developments in the political process. He stressed that the political solution is the only option to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people through the implementation of the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Hariri also underscored the need to pay attention to the situation inside Syria, particularly at level of the Syrian revolution in order to reorganize the ranks and prepare well to meet the challenges ahead.
Secretary-General Nazir al-Hakim talked about the role of local councils and other institutions in the administration of the liberated areas. He said that these councils presented a successful model of governance and exposed the incompetence of the Assad regime’s institutions and the extent to which it uses them to serve its autocratic goals. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition condemned the violations and repressive acts being carried out by the militia of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) against civilians, particularly the arrests of women and children in the city of Raqqa during the past few days.
The Coalition said that the PYD militias dispersed demonstrations in Raqqa by live bullets and arrested participants. It denounced the PYD’s beating, humiliation and insulting of women, the repression of civilians and crackdown on activists and dissidents. The Coalition said that these acts are but some of the repressive acts of the Assad regime’s that the PYD militia is using with the aim of terrorizing and intimidating the Syrian people.
The Coalition reaffirmed its condemnation of these violations and crimes, most notably the kidnappings, enforced disappearances and crackdown on free speech. It expressed its full solidarity with the people of Raqqa and their peaceful movement against these violations and those responsible for them.
The Coalition called upon the international community to condemn the violations being committed by these militias in all their names and denominations. It also called for stopping all forms of military and political support as it stressed that those who are supporting these terrorist militias also bear responsibility for what they are doing against Syrians. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Assad regime and Russian air forces pummeled northwestern rural Dara’a in the early morning hours of Monday, causing civilian casualties. Activists said that the Assad regime stepped up the use of barrel bombs and cluster munitions to force rebel fighters to surrender.
Local activists said that Russian airstrikes killed three civilians and injured many others in the village of Aqraba. Activists in Al-Harra said that residential areas in the town came under shelling by rockets and cluster munitions.
Russian jets carried out about 75 airstrikes on Tal al-Harra hill, the highest hilltop in the area, in the past 24 hours, according to local activists. Assad’s helicopters dropped at least 48 barrel bombs on the strategic hilltop.
The Syrian Coalition last week expressed its disappointment at the failure of the UN Security Council to condemn the crimes of genocide and mass forced displacement in Dara’a province.
The Coalition also voiced its disappointment at the “failure of the Council’s permanent members to assume their responsibilities in this regard, including the United States, which was a guarantor state but which later renounced its commitments and left the Syrian people and easy prey for the Russian-Iranian brutal onslaught.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Coalition hinted that the US-led anti-ISIS coalition was ignoring the crimes of Iranian terrorist militias and their growing threat in different areas. The US-led anti-ISIS coalition launched airstrikes against civilian targets in eastern Syria last week.
Meanwhile, the plight of people who are stranded on the border with Jordan continued. Tens of thousands of Dara'a residents fled the military operations being carried out by the Assad regime and Russia in the region.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was seeking access to about 210,000 displaced people in Dara’a province who need urgent assistance. It said that “up to 160,000 displaced Syrians currently seeking safety in Quneitra are inaccessible to health partners, raising concerns for their health.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition said that the international anti-ISIS coalition failed to carry out its primary task in Syria, calling on it to force the Assad regime forces and Iranian militias to stop committing more war crimes against civilians.
In a press release issued on Friday, the Syrian Coalition said that the international anti-ISIS coalition failed to protect civilians from the crimes of the Assad regime, Russia and the Iranian militias as well as to enforce UN resolutions regarding the cessation of carnage in Syria. Instead, the international anti-ISIS coalition is now taking part in the killings and displacement of the Syrian people and the destruction of their homes.
Aircraft of the international anti-ISIS coalition bombed an ice factory in eastern rural Deir Ezzor last night. The Syrian Coalition said that the airstrike has reportedly caused a horrific massacre claiming the lives of dozens of civilians. There is no accurate estimate of the number of the casualties yet.
The death toll being reported by activists and rights groups is increasing with the passing of time, indicating that many of the injuries were critical and the difficult conditions in the region in light of the absence of basic medical services.
“All forms of targeting of civilians are reprehensible, just as the showing of disregard for their blood and the failure to take necessary precautions to ensure their safety. The repetition of such confirms has almost confirmed suspicions that the international coalition forces are not taking necessary precautions to prevent civilian casualties.”
The Syrian Coalition underscored that “all states participating in the international anti-ISIS coalition forces bear full legal responsibility for all their crimes and violations.”
“It is imperative that an immediate investigation is launched into this crime to hold those responsible accountable and put an end to the targeting of civilians under the pretext of combatting terrorism. Meanwhile, the Assad regime, its militias, and the mercenaries of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are given a free hand to wreak havoc and destruction throughout Syria without anyone confronting their crimes and terror.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian National Commission on Detainees and Missing Persons, Yasser Al-Farhan, said that the Assad regime’s mass killings of detainees in its prisons constituted war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, adding that detainees are subjected to systematic, brutal torture.
Farhan made these remarks following the Assad regime’s sending of list of names of detainees who died while in its custody to civil registers. Farhan called on the UN to investigate the mass killings of detainees in Assad’s prisons, stressing that such acts are “disgrace to the whole world.”
Farhan pointed out that the Assad regime’s issuance of lists of names of detainees who died in detention centers without handing over the bodies and without the launch of careful, transparent investigations into these deaths confirmed that those detainees were subjected to mass and killings and brutal torture. He refuted claims by the Assad regime that those detainees died of heart attacks.
“International human rights jurisprudence states that the primary responsibility rests with the State until the death of a person in detention is proved to be of normal reasons and not the result of negligence or ill-treatment,” Farhan added.
"Therefore, all deaths must be subject to an independent, transparent and thorough investigation. Failure to conduct such investigation is enough to hold the State accountable for the death of the victims.”
Farhan stressed direct responsibility for these deaths lies with the perpetrators of these crimes and with those who gave orders or covered them up.
Farhan called on the international community to force the Assad regime to open prisons and detention centers to international bodies to ascertain the situation inside. He stressed that an international investigation should be launched into the abuses against detainees in Assad’s prisons. He called for the release of all detainees and preventing further arbitrary arrests in line with international resolutions on Syria, including the Geneva Communique of 2012 and Security Council resolution 2254.
Farhan also stressed that torture is routinely and systemically used in the prisons of the Assad regime with the aim of getting rid of all opponents, adding that tens of thousands of detainees have already died under torture in Assad’s prisons.
Moreover, Farhan pointed out that the Assad regime did not abide by international resolutions and conventions calling for the prevention of arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment as it continued arrests and kidnappings.
“All this is happening despite the fact that almost all UN Security Council resolutions strongly condemned arbitrary arrest of civilians, torture, physical liquidation and enforced disappearances in Syria and demanded an immediate end to these practices and the release of all arbitrarily detained persons."
The Syrian National Commission on Detainees and Missing Persons was formed by a decision of the Syrian Coalition. It works independently and in coordination with local and international human rights organizations on taking concrete measures to ensure the release of detainees and putting an end to torture and physical liquidation. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
An official in the Syrian Coalition said that Bashar al-Assad is fooling his supporters into believing that he is wining. On the contrary, Assad has fallen outside the regional and international calculus.
In an article published in the Anadolu Agency on Tuesday, former Secretary General of the Syrian Coalition Abdulilah Fahd said that the Assad regime have become a mere puppet as Russia is the one who is calling the shots in Syria now and negotiating Syrian rebels on the ground and in political forums.
Fahd pointed out that Assad’s supporters ignore the fact that Assad long ago fell out of regional and international calculus, citing the negotiations that took place in areas close to his residence but in which he did not have any role.
The Assad regime was also forced to accept the 12-principles paper agreed between the Syrian Negotiations Commission and the United Nations after it had rejected the paper during talks in Geneva, Fahd added.
Fahd, who is also member of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, noted that the Assad regime, which repeatedly announced it would adhere to the 2012 Constitution, is now obliged to abide by international resolutions calling for replacing the 2012 Constitution with a constitution that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people. Fahd added that the Assad regime finally agreed to present a list of candidates for the Constitutional Committee.
"It is no secret that the Assad regime no longer has a real presence and will not be able to achieve security and stability in Syria anymore.”
Fahd went on to say that Assad has become "a mere tool who is being handed over a list of things to be done and instructions to follow without being able even to discuss them. He said that Assad is now being forced to implement international agreements and understandings, especially those reached between the United States and Russia with regards to serious engagement in the political process that is based on the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2254. The United Sates and other countries still commit to this resolution which will lead to a political transition without Assad.
Fahd concluded his remarks by stressing that the Syrian revolution is not defeated after seven and a half years, but succeeded in weakening the regime and made it embattled at the regional and international levels. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition’s Department of Foreign Affairs held two separate meetings in the Turkish capital Ankara with Sweden Ambassador Lars Wahlund and Cote d’iIvour Ambassador Yacouba Atta. The meetings discussed the latest developments on the ground in Dara’a province and the latest political developments regarding the issue of the drafting of a new Syrian constitution.
Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Abd al-Ahad Steifo talked about the series of mass forced displacement being carried out by the Assad regime against civilians in different parts of Syria. He urged Sweden and Côte d'Ivoire, both non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, to support the Syrian people’s demands for freedom and dignity.
Steifo urged Sweden, which will preside over the UN Security Council next month, to support the taking of a firm stance towards the war crimes being committed by the Assad regime against civilians and put an end to the international community’s failure to take legal responsibility towards the protection of civilians.
Steifo stressed the need to provide humanitarian and relief assistance to the displaced people, especially in southern Syria where over 300,000 people have been displaced in recent weeks, according to United Nations.
Moreover, Steifo stressed that the Coalition's serious engagement in negotiations to reach a political solution was met by insistence of the Assad regime to pursue a bloody security and military solution. He noted that the formation of a Constitutional Committee tasked with drafting a new constitution is key to bring about real political transition and the establishment of a state that is based on the rule of law. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Meeting with Sweden Ambassador Lars Wahlund