The Syrian Coalition said that the agreement reached between Turkey and Russia on Idlib would likely pave the way for a political solution as it has prevented the Assad regime from committing more crimes against civilians and going ahead with its plans to forcibly displace them.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Coalition described the agreement as an “important and necessary step, especially with regards to ensuring the safety of millions of people of Idlib and the displaced Syrians living in the province.”
The Coalition pointed out that the agreement came late and could have been reached earlier and saved the lives of thousands of civilians. It said: "The road to such an agreement has long been open inasmuch as solutions could have been found to spare the country further bloodshed and destruction. However, the Assad regime and its allies have continued to exploit all agreements and truces with the aim of preventing a political solution.”
“The forces of the revolution and opposition, meanwhile, have keenly sought to find a genuine political solution as the only viable option that is capable of meeting the aspirations of all Syrians and guaranteeing their legitimate rights.”
The Syrian Coalition has been genuinely committed to the success of any agreement that contributes to ending the bloodshed in Syria and putting the political solution back on track in line with international resolutions,” the Coalition added.
The Coalition stressed that it would deal with this agreement with “all seriousness and positivity as it came as the fruit of the resilience and steadfastness the Syrian people have shown in the face of all threats and attacks facing them.”
“The agreement also came as the culmination of Turkey’s determined, valiant efforts to ease the tension; thwart the Assad regime’s fiendish plans; and avert a dreadful humanitarian disaster affecting the region and civilians living in it.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa welcomed the agreement reached between Turkey and Russia on Idlib as averting an unprecedented humanitarian disaster in the region. He stressed that the agreement can pave the way for the revival of the political process to find a comprehensive political solution in Syria.
In remarks he made on Tuesday, Mustafa said that the Syrian Coalition is well aware of the seriousness of the threats being issued by the Assad regime and Iran to attack Idlib province. He noted that the discussions with the Turkish side were focused on the safety of civilians; allowing them to stay in their areas; and preventing a repeat of the mass forced displacement.
Mustafa pointed out that Ankara has played a crucial, pivotal role in saving the lives of millions and enabling them to stay in their regions. He extended sincere thanks to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he called on all institutions of the revolution and rebel groups to abide by the agreement.
Moreover, Mustafa said that the agreement will allow the reorganization of the situation in Syria as it advanced a political solution and prevented a bloody military solution which is being pursued by the Assad regime and its allies. The Assad regime’s plans for an assault on Idlib to kill and displace its residents have miserably failed, Mustafa said, adding that this will make Syria free for all its sons and daughters.
The next stage requires serious work to unite efforts at all levels and to benefit from the return of the revolutionary movement to the Syrian streets. He stressed that the Turkish-Russian agreement provided an opportunity to put the Syrian revolution back on the track it started from, namely to regain freedom and dignity as well as make a complete change in the regime through a genuine transitional phase. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa said that the Assad regime would be defeated if its forces attacked Idlib province as he stressed that the Free Syrian Army groups are ready for any potential attack. He pointed out that Turkey is playing an important role in averting any potential attack by the Assad regime.
Mustafa said that the Coalition is well aware of the seriousness of the threats being issued by the Assad regime and Russia. He noted that the Coalition is making constant contacts with friends and partners to avert danger away from Idlib as well as to revive the political process and negotiations. “The goal of the threats to attack Idlib and all previous military operations was to hinder the political process and prevent the implementation of international resolutions calling for a comprehensive political transition in the country,” he said.
Mustafa pointed out that the bloody military solution is still the Assad regime’s only option. "We are preparing for all scenarios as we reaffirm our commitment to political solution. Despite the plans it is preparing, the Assad regime knows well it will risk losing all what it achieved through the killing and mass forced displacement over the past years if it goes ahead with the battel for Idlib.”
Moreover, Mustafa stressed that Idlib will remain safe as the Free Syrian Army groups in the province have been preparing themselves for a while. “The people of Idlib and those who were displaced to it will not go anywhere. They will stick to their land and will defend it in the face of anyone who tries to target them.”
Mustafa underscored that the battle of Idlib “will turn against the Assad regime and its allies.” He stressed that “the FSA groups are not seeking a battle, but they will confront any aggression with all their capabilities. This time things will be different from all the previous ones, a fact that the Assad regime and its allies are well aware of.”
With regards to Turkey's efforts to prevent any possible military operation in Idlib, Mustafa noted that "Turkey is playing a pivotal role in confronting the plans of the Assad regime and its allies." He said: "All spectra of the Syrian people are looking for a more effective role by Turkey to reduce tension and pave the way for a serious political track leading to political transition.”
Moreover, Mustafa said that the international community bears primary responsibility for any potential attack on Idlib. He called on the United Nations to defend its resolutions and protect Syrian civilians, stressing the need for all major players to exert firm pressure on the Assad regime and its allies to ensure the implementation of international resolutions, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Assad, backed by Russia, has intensified unlawful attacks on civilians in Idlib using internationally banned cluster munitions and unguided barrel bombs, Amnesty International said on Friday. The Syrian Coalition said that these reports provide yet further evidence of the war crimes Assad and his allies are committing in Syria, calling on the United Nations put an end to such attacks.
Amnesty International called on the international community to use its influence to “immediately end unlawful attacks and prevent more appalling civilian losses.” It warned that these attacks came as “a prelude to a widely anticipated military offensive” on Idlib province.
The watchdog group said that at least 13 attacks were reported to have taken place between 7 and 10 September in the southern part of Idlib governorate. The bombardments killed 14 civilians and injured 35 more.
“The Syrian government has routinely used banned cluster munitions and barrel bombs across Syria to inflict terrible harm and suffering on civilians. Now, they have started duplicating these horrific tactics in Idlib and we don’t have any reason to believe that they will stop,” said Diana Semaan, Amnesty International’s Syria researcher.
Nearly three million people live in Idlib, half of whom were displaced from other parts of Syria, especially Aleppo, eastern Ghouta, Darayya, Qalamoun, rural Homs, and Dara’a. According to UN humanitarian agencies, more than 2 million people in Idlib are in dire need of food, water and health care.
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa said that these systematic attacks by the Assad regime and Russia were aimed at forcing the Syrian people to surrender, especially through the targeting of medical facilities.
Mustafa stressed that the attacks on Idlib and its countryside amounted to a war crime. He noted that these attacks are being launched “under the auspices of a country that has a responsibility to maintain international peace and security.” He also said that Russia bears primary responsibility for these crimes as its actions have encouraged disrespect for international law by covering up the crimes of the Assad regime. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
For the second consecutive Friday, mass demonstrations swept across towns and villages of Idlib province as well as rural Aleppo, Hama and Lattakia. Held under the title "there is no alternative to overthrowing the Assad regime," protestors reasserted the demands of the Syrian revolution and that it will continue until the people regain freedom and dignity for which they have risen up since March 2011.
Local media outlets said that tens of thousands of people poured to the streets following Friday prayers to demonstrate against the Assad regime and condemn the aerial bombing campaign being launched by the Assad regime and Russian air forces against the province on the pretext of targeting al-Qaeda-linked militants. Protestors raised the flag of the Syrian revolution and held signs that read “Idlib is green, not black."
Demonstrators reasserted their solidarity with Idlib in the face of threats by the Assad regime and Russia to assault the region and displace its residents. They also chanted slogans reaffirming commitment to resistance and carrying on with the revolution.
President of the Syrian Coalition Aburrahman Mustafa said that "the majestic scene of demonstrations and chants of the Syrian revolution we saw today emphasized the the fact that the people have risen up to demand freedom and dignity and that they would not give up until their rights are fully regained.”
Demonstrators sent messages to the international community urging serious action to protect civilians and punish Assad for the war crimes he has committed since the start of the revolution against unarmed civilians.
Activists said that today’s demonstrations saw more participants and included new areas in Idlib and Hama provinces. They stressed that the mass demonstrations refuted allegations by the Assad regime and Russia that the region is under the control of hardline militants. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition’s presidential body and political committee received representatives of friendly countries and discussed with them the heavy bombing campaign by the Assad regime and the Russian forces against civilians in Idlib. The meeting also discussed the political process, most importantly efforts to resume the UN-led Geneva negotiations.
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa said that the Assad regime, Russia and the Iranian terrorist organizations are committing a new series of war crimes in Idlib and rural Hama. He called on friendly countries to mobilize efforts at the international level to ensure perpetrators of these crimes are held accountable. "We are completing the files of accountability for war crimes in Syria. We hope that you will be further mobilized in international forums to hold war criminals accountable."
Mustafa expressed hope that there will be international action to stop the crimes taking place in northern Syria, which is being subjected to heavy bombardment that mainly targets residential buildings and vital civilian centers. He pointed out that serious international action would avert a new human tragedy affecting civilians and the forcibly displaced people.
He stressed that Russia is targeting civilians, hospitals and service facilities while ignoring targets of Al-Qaeda, adding that Russia has been pursuing this strategy from the beginning to strengthen terrorism and crush the Syrian revolution.
Moreover, Mustafa underscored that the Coalition rejects the existence of any terrorist organizations on Syrian territory just as it rejects the presence of Iranian terrorist organizations in Syria. “We were the first to suffer at the hands of these groups. The Free Syrian Army was the first to confront these terrorist organizations as it fought them in various parts of Syria. These groups must not be used as a pretext to kill civilians and bring about a demographic change in the country."
“Under the pretext of fighting terrorist organizations, the Assad regime and Moscow have forcibly displaced the people of Aleppo, eastern Ghouta, Darayya, Homs, Qalmoun and Dara’a,” Mustafa added. “There is no other Idlib for civilians to move to," he said, warning of an unprecedented humanitarian disaster as the region is home to more than three million civilians.
Mustafa also stressed that such disaster will create a new global refugee crisis affecting most countries. He called on friendly countries to exert international pressure to protect Syrian civilians and maintain the truce in Idlib, especially as it is the last remaining de-escalation zone.
Mustafa praised the position of Turkey as well as the international and European support which is consistent with the position of the Syrian Coalition in its rejection of escalation and the holocaust being planned in Idlib.
He pointed out the Coalition is also focusing on the political process and negotiations and said: "We constantly coordinate efforts with the Syrian Negotiations Commission with regards to political and negotiating issues as well as the formation of the Constitutional Committee. We are still committed to a political solution that guarantees the rights of the Syrian people."
Mustafa underscored that the political process must be comprehensive and not limited to the constitutional process. He said that Russian is seeking to rehabilitate the Assad regime and prevent a full political transition in Syria in line with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. “We believe that there is no solution except a political one that is sponsored by the United Nations.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition condemned all crimes and executions carried out by the Iranian regime against Iranian dissidents demanding their rights and struggling for their freedom.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Coalition especially condemned the shelling that targeted the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the Iraq Kurdistan Region killing dozens of civilians and displaced people as well as the execution of peaceful activists.
“These crimes are part of the Iranian regime's policies aimed at spreading terrorism and which are based on hostility towards peoples of the region, including the Iranian people.”
The Iranian regime is seeking to create chaos and using terrorism to suppress freedoms and liquidate dissidents with the sole aim of maintaining its monopoly of power and wealth in the country,” the Coalition added.
The Coalition renewed its warning of the destructive policies being pursued by the Iranian regime as they risk leading the region to potential disaster. It stressed the need to confront these policies by taking bold decisions and effective measures in order to save the region and Iran’s ethic groups, including Kurds, Arabs, Balochs, Azeris and guarantees their cultural, constitutional, and human rights. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa met with the French president envoy to Syria François Sénémaud and discussed with him the violent bombing campaign being launched by the Assad regime and Russian air forces against civilians in Idlib. Both sides also discussed the latest political developments, most importantly the resumption of the UN-led Geneva talks.
Mustafa stressed that Russia is bombing civilians, hospitals and service centers while ignoring the areas under the control of ISIS and the Al-Qaeda. He stressed that the Assad regime and Russia has been pursuing this strategy from the outset with the aim of strengthening terrorism and crushing the Syrian revolution.
“There is no other Idlib for Syrian civilians to move to," Mustafa said, pointing out that previous military operations launched by the Assad regime and Russia have forcibly displaced millions of civilians from Aleppo, eastern Ghouta, Darayya, Homs, Qalmoun and Dara’a under the pretext of fighting terrorist groups. “The Russians are now seeking to use the same pretext, but Idlib is different from other regions as it is home to more than three million people.”
“We have been the number one victims of terror, which should not be used as pretext for killing civilians and changing the demographic landscape in Syria,” Mustafa said. He expressed hope that France would take adequate measures to protect civilians in Idlib and prevent any military operation against civilians in the province.
"We look at the threats being issued by the Assad regime, Russia and Iran with all seriousness. The anger still exists. Bombings are ongoing, which will cause unprecedented catastrophe if this continues."
With regards to the political process and negotiations, Mustafa pointed out that this process should be comprehensive and not limited to the constitutional process. “Moscow is following this line with the aim of rehabilitating the Assad regime and preventing a complete political transition in Syria in line with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council Resolution 2254.”
“We are still committed to a political solution that is based on the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council Resolution 2254. However, the Assad regime is still pursuing a bloody military solution with Russian and Iranian support with the aim of retaking control on the entire Syrian territory," Mustafa added.
"We believe that there will be no solution without a UN-sponsored political agreement. The return of refugees should be an integral part of the political solution.”
Moreover, Mustafa pointed out the Assad regime still refuses to release detainees, citing reports of new arrests of civilians by the Assad regime. He noted that the Assad regime has recently begun issuing “death lists” containing the names of thousands of detainees who died under torture in its prisons.
For his part, Sénémaud said that France does not see in Syria conditions for the creation of a safe, neutral environment. He reiterated his country's position not to contribute to reconstruction efforts or the return of refugees unless there is real progress in the political process. He pointed out that France has already informed the Russians and the European Union of this position. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Assad regime and Russian air forces have further intensified the bombing campaign in Idlib and Hama provinces, killing more than 30 people, including women and children. A number of towns and villages were declared disaster areas as a result of the widespread destruction.
Local activists said that the bombings hit new areas on Sunday, targeting mainly vital civilian centers. The airstrikes knocked out Al-Lataminah Hospital and Nabd Al-Hayat Hospital in the town of Haas as well as caused damage to the civil defense center in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.
Local councils in northern rural Hama and the town of Habeet in rural Idlib declared their areas ‘disaster areas’ as a result of the extensive destruction of infrastructure and residential buildings.
The Syrian Coalition said that the Russian occupation forces were keenly seeking to repeat the scenario of aggression on Syrian towns and villages with the aim of destroying them as well as killing and displacing their people. It said that Russia believes that the scenario that took place in eastern Ghouta and Dara’a province can be repeated in and around Idlib by exploiting the silence of the international community.
In a press release issued on Sunday, the Coalition accused Russia, Iran and the Assad regime “of planning and implementing a new series of war crimes and crimes against humanity with the aim of displacing more Syrians and completing the project of demographic change in Syria without provoking any response by the international community and international legitimacy.”
The Coalition reminded all parties of the international community of their responsibilities towards the protection of civilians in Syria and the cessation of war crimes taking place in the country.
“We renew our calls on the UN Security Council to take immediate action to foil these plans before it is too late. It is imperative that the Council urgently adopt a resolution condemning the crimes of Russia, Iran and the Assad regime; ensure they stop immediately; and enforce UN resolutions on Syria, most importantly UN Security Council resolution 2254.”
The Coalition stressed the right of the Free Syrian Army and all the Syrian people to defend themselves by all legitimate means as it called for providing them with all necessary support to confront this aggression. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition said that the anti-regime demonstrations that swept across towns and villages of Idlib province on Friday reflected the Syrian people’s absolute commitment to their demands and that they were ready to confront the regime should it make any reckless move in Idlib.
In press release issued on Friday, the Coalition saluted demonstrators who took to the streets in more than 90 locations across Idlib province to denounce the Assad regime’s issuance of threats to attack the province. Demonstrators also expressed their outright rejection of the latest remarks by the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura as representing a green light to further murder and displacement of innocent civilians.
“Through these demonstrations, the Syrian people sent out clear, strong messages denoting their high morale and indomitable will to confront the Assad regime in Idlib and that any reckless move would be very costly to the Assad regime and its allies,” the Coalition said.
“Waving the flag of the Syrian revolution, demonstrators reiterated their rejection of the so-called reconciliations and settlements with the Assad regime, reaffirming their absolute commitment to the principles of the revolution and its continuation until the overthrow of the Assad regime. They also renewed their total rejection of terrorism in all its forms as they recalled the role of the Free Syrian Army in the fight against terrorism.”
Activists earlier called for widespread demonstration after Friday prayers under the title "resistance is our choice" to demonstrate that rebel fighters were ready to confront any military action by the Assad regime and its allies in the region.
Demonstrators gathered in the majority of the main squares of Idlib city, waving the flag of the Syrian revolution and carrying sings denouncing the Assad regime and refusing to surrender. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)