Tens of thousands of Syrians on Friday took to the streets of towns and villages in northern Syria to demand the release of detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime and the disclosure of the fate of thousands of the forcibly disappeared persons. The mass demonstrations were held under the title “set the detainees free!”
Demonstrations took place in many towns and villages across northern Syria. Demonstrators raised the flag of the Syrian revolution and chanted slogans calling for the release of detainees and for bringing Assad to justice for the heinous crimes his regime is committing against detainees.
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa pointed out that the mass demonstrations reaffirmed the Syrian people’s demands for the release of detainees. "It is the duty of the international community and friendly countries to take action to save the lives of tens of thousands of young men, women, the elderly and children in the prions of the Assad regime.”
Mustafa stressed that saving the lives of detainees is the duty of the United Nations, adding that it is imperative to "address the tragic conditions in the detention facilities of the Assad regime with some sense of human responsibility. A bold decision needs to be taken to refer war crimes in Syria to the International Criminal Court."
Activists published photos of protestors holding photos of detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime and the ISIS extremist group, most notably doctor Mohammed Arab, Tal Al-Mallouhi, and activist Abdel Wahab Al-Malla.
Demonstrations also took place in rural Aleppo and rurla Hama, with participants calling for the overthrow of the Assad regime and the disclosure of the fate of detainees held by the Assad regime.
The Syrian Coalition gives the issue of detainees a top priority as they are the victim of the most heinous war crimes the Assad regime is committing. The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said it had complied a list of the names of 118,000 detainees in Syria, 88 percent of whom are held in the Assad regime's detention facilities. Other human rights organizations gave a much higher estimate, especially as there are tens of thousands of forcibly disappeared persons.
Former detainees spoke of brutal methods of torture taking place inside the prisons of the Assad regime. Photos which were leaked by defecting military photographer code-named Caesar revealed some of the atrocities taking place in the prisons of the Assad regime. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-President of the Syrian Coalition, Dima Moussa, reaffirmed the need for international intervention through the UN Security Council or any other mechanism capable of stopping the Assad regime from going ahead with the implementation of Law No. 10 aimed bringing about a large-scale demographic change in the country.
Moussa pointed out that the Assad regime is still insisting on the implementation of the new law. She added that Assad regime officials recently announced that Al-Tadamon neighborhood in Damascus would be subjected to Law No. 10 in its entirety under the pretext of creating one or more zones within the new urban re-zoning plan. This punitive move will leave the internally displaced persons and refugees at the risk of forfeiting their property and will allow the regime to repopulate strategic areas with regime loyalists, Moussa said.
Moussa warned that this measure would prevent the return of internally displaced persons and refugees to their areas of origin, which amounts to a war crime and a crime against humanity under international law.
"We continue to call on the international community to take concrete measures, through the available mechanisms, to stop the implementation of Law 10 which made the intentions of the Assad regime abundantly clear," Moussa said on Friday. She called upon the European Union and other countries such as Canada and the United States to ratchet up political pressure on the Assad regime and oppose the implementation of the new property law given the dire implications it will have for the EU countries and all countries hosting Syrian refugees.
In a report published in May, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that Law 10 creates a major obstacle to the return of displaced persons and refugees to their homes. It stressed that the measure empowers the Assad regime to confiscate private property without due process or compensation.
Large parts of al-Tadamon neighborhood were subjected to heavy bombardment by the Assad regime and Russian forces over the past several years. Tens of thousands of its residents were forced to leave the neighborhood under deals that were enforced and supervised by Moscow. (Source: Syrian Coalitions’ Media Department)
The delegation of the Syrian Negotiations Commission held several important meetings with European officials in New York on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly and discussed with them the latest political and field developments in Syria.
At a meeting with members of the Danish Parliament, Head of the Commission Nasr Al-Hariri gave a detailed overview of the Commission’s vision for a political solution in Syria. He stressed that the Commission is seeking a solution that honors the Syrian people’s aspirations for building a democratic society ensuring freedom and dignity for all citizens after the elimination of authoritarian dictatorship.
Hariri pointed out that the Assad regime and its allies are seeking a solution suiting their narrow interests at the expense of the interests of the Syrian people. He stressed that the regime is seeking a solution that serves its survival and the survival of its repressive security apparatuses which are to blame for the tragedy unfolding in Syria. He noted that the regime is also to blame for its insistence on clinging to power and its refusal to respond to the will of the Syrian people and their legitimate demands.
The Commission’s delegation also meet with Director-General for Political Affairs of the Swedish Foreign Ministry Anna-Karin Enestrom. Hariri gave an overview of the situation in Idlib and the agreement recently reached on the province. He stressed the importance of strengthening the international role in finding a solution that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people through a comprehensive political solution in line with UN resolutions.
Hariri pointed to attempts by some sides to circumvent a real solution by talking about the return of refugees without providing a safe environment for them and with the survival of the Assad regime which is the main reason why those refugees fled their country.
The delegation concluded its meetings with a meeting with the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. During the meeting, Hariri made it clear that the Constitutional Committee is the gateway to a comprehensive solution guaranteeing a transition to a future in which there is no place for the ruler who caused a humanitarian tragedy that is unprecedented in the history of mankind.
Hariri also stressed the importance of coordination among those who are keen to consolidate the Idlib agreement. He added that the Assad regime and its backers are trying to make the agreement a temporary one by the issuance of constant threats of military action that will kill more innocent civilians and displace thousands. Hariri praised the EU call for a special high-level meeting on Syria at the United Nations bringing together the major actors in Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The delegation of the Syrian Negotiations Commission headed by Nasser al-Hariri met with French President Emmanuel Macron in New York on Tuesday on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.
The two sides discussed the latest political and field developments in Syria, especially the recent agreement on Idlib and ways to avert a regime assault on the province. They also discussed ways to push the political process forward to achieve full political transition.
Hariri gave a detailed overview of the current situation in Idlib and the developments leading to the Russian-Turkish agreement. He expressed the appreciation of the Syrian people for the French position and its support for the Syrian people. He also expressed appreciation for the French government’s support for finding a constructive solution in line with international resolutions. He stressed that such a solution is crucial to putting an end to the Assad regime’s allies meddling in the Syrian issue and their insistence on obstructing the political process.
Hariri also emphasized the need to mobilize the international efforts to consolidate the Idlib agreement and spare the province a potential regime offensive. He also stressed the need to ensure full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2254 without reducing a political solution in Syria to the constitutional process.
For his part, the French president stressed that his country stands with the Syrian people in their quest to putting an end to the suffering and the crisis in the country. He expressed his strong support for the Idlib agreement, noting that there is coordination between France and the European countries with the parties to the Idlib agreement with a view to consolidating the agreement and providing protection to civilians.
President Macron also stressed the need to push the political process forward in accordance with international resolutions, including the issue of the formation of the Constitutional Committee and the role of the United Nations in the stages of its formation. He also underscored that reconstruction must be linked to reaching a genuine political change in Syria in accordance with the UN resolutions. He noted that engagement with Russia is indispensable to reaching a comprehensive political solution that paves the way for the making of a future that is worthy of Syria and its people. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
A member of the Syrian Coalition said that the Assad regime has committed major war crimes against humanity since it seized power and has an "archive of evil" against Syrian civilians. He was commenting on news about the collection of one million pages of documents containing compelling evidence on the war crimes the Assad regime is committing against the Syrian people.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee Okab Yahya said that these documents have shed yet further light on the immense suffering the Syrian people are going through at the hands of the Assad regime. These documents "unequivocally damn the murderous Assad regime and its head who oversees all these crimes as many of the documents bear his signature,” Yahya added. He pointed out that Bashar al-Assad is directly responsible for all these crimes.
The Times newspaper on Sunday revealed the collection of an archive containing one million pages of documents showing how orders for torture and murder of opponents come straight from Assad himself. The newspaper noted that most of the documents bear the embossed hawk of the Assad regime, and some carry the signature of Bashar al-Assad himself.
The newspaper said that the documents are stored in stacks of 265 cardboard boxes in a locked vault that is monitored by security cameras in a secret location in a European city. Each page was scanned to create a digital archive, assigned a barcode and a number, and stored in the boxes.
Christina Lamb, the Times chief foreign correspondent, said that the secret project to gather evidence on Assad’s war crimes is the brainchild of Bill Wiley, a Canadian ex-soldier and war crimes investigator, who was frustrated working in international criminal courts that he concluded were too slow and expensive.
Wiley said what he has gathered proves “hundreds of times over that Assad is absolutely in control of everything that happens in the regime and is responsible for far more killing than Isis.”
The documents, which contain “overwhelming evidence” against Assad, have been collected and smuggled out by Syrians inside the country. Some have paid with their lives and two remain in regime custody, the Times added.
The documents are corroborated by about 55,000 photographs, smuggled out of Syria by a military police officer known by the pseudonym Caesar. He and his team photographed corpses of detainees which were delivered to military hospitals from security services. Each corpse had a unique four-digit number scrawled on tape or the forehead with a thick marker. Many had been beaten, mutilated, burnt, shot — and in some cases even melted.
Yahya pointed out that the Coalitions’ legal committee has already submitted to the International Criminal Court documents containing evidence about the crimes and terror of the regime and its head Assad. He pointed out that Syrian organizations also provided documents and testimonies about the regime's deliberate crimes against civilians demanding freedom.
Yahya expressed his hope that these documents will show up in the International Criminal Court (ICC). He urged ICC investigators and judges to assume their role and take these and other documents into consideration to complete the process of bringing criminals to justice. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa and members of the political committee held a video conference with ministers of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), heads of local councils in Idlib and Hama provinces, and representatives of the revolutionary movement in northern Syria.
Participants discussed the latest political and field developments as well as ways to implement and abide by the Idlib agreement and bolster civil administration in all towns and villages across northern Syria.
President Mustafa said that the revival of the revolutionary movement in recent weeks have clearly showed that "the spirit of the revolution is still alive." He also said that this movement and the people’s demands “represent and guide us in all the decisions and contacts we make.” He added: “The Syrian Coalition will not give up the principles of the revolution, the goals of freedom and dignity, and demands for the realization of the aspirations of the Syrian people.”
The implementation of the Idlib agreement will allow the Syrian Coalition to be closer to the revolution’s popular base through the opening of offices in all regions across Syria’s north, President Mustafa said. He pointed out that the Coalition intends to consult with revolutionary bodies representing all segments of the Syrian society in order to reach a unified vision of a solution in Syria and consolidate civil administration in the country’s north.
Moreover, President Mustafa noted that the agreement on Idlib demonstrated how the option of killing and displacement of civilians that is being pursued by the Assad regime and its allies has failed dismally. He added that the agreement “will reflect positively on the political process as it will pave the way for a political solution in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. He also said that the Syrian Interim Government is currently making efforts to secure support for civil administration in northern Syria.
“The safety and well-being of civilians in the region are our top priority," President Mustafa stressed, adding: "we are constantly communicating with the Turkish guarantor to this end, especially with regards to the violations being committed by the Assad regime and the sporadic bombings of northern Syria.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Mass demonstrations swept across towns and villages of Syria’s north on Friday as president of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa said that the demonstrations “have revived the real spirit of the revolution and strengthened our commitment to our national goals."
Demonstrators once again reaffirmed their demands and that they will not back down until the overthrow of the Assad regime. Mustafa pointed out that such demonstrations promote dialogue and acceptance of differences in opinion. The slogans that were chanted during these demonstrations will shape the future of Syria that is based on freedom, dignity, justice and equality, he added.
Head of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), Jawad Abu Hatab, participated in the demonstrations that took place in western rural Aleppo along with a number of SIG’s ministers. Abu Hatab saluted the participants as he stressed that the return of mass demonstrations to Syria’s streets "provided further evidence of the Syrian people's steadfastness and their insistence upon regaining their rights.” He added that the forces of the revolution and the Syrian opposition wanted to send a message to the international community that "we are holding firm against the tyrannical Assad regime and its backers.”
Demonstrators held signs that read “it is the great Syria, not Assad’s Syria,” which were the last words of the late Syrian actress Mai Skaf before she passed away. Demonstrators called for the release of all detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime and chanted slogans expressing their solidarity with the people who were kidnapped by the ISIS extremist group in Swaida province.
Activists pointed out that more people participated in the Friday demonstrations after the return of thousands of displaced persons to their homes following the agreement on Idlib. The agreement thwarted plans by the Assad regime and its allies to displace civilians from Idlib province and change the demographic landscape in the country. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Anadolu news agency said that at least 22 Iranian-backed foreign terrorist groups are surrounding Idlib’s de-escalation zone from three directions, adding that these militias are stationed in 232 different locations across Syria. The Syrian Coalition stressed the need for all these militias to withdraw from Syria and to hold Tehran accountable for all the war crimes its militias have committed against Syrian civilians over the past eight years.
The agency on Thursday published infographs indicating that militias that Iran brought from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have played a primary role in the massacres, displacement and siege of Syrian cities and regions, especially in Aleppo, Madaya and eastern Ghouta.
The agency highlighted the locations and names of the Iranian militias besieging Idlib. It indicated that the militias were distributed to three groups that are deployed in rural Latakia, namely, the Iraqi Hezbollah, the Iraqi Zulfiqar Brigade, and the Iraqi- Al-Nujaba Movement. Seven groups are deployed in northern rural Hama, namely the Iraqi- Al-Nujaba Movement, the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Imam Ali Brigade, the Abu Fadl al-Abbas Brigade, the Syrian Al-Baqir Brigade, the Quds Force, and the Mahdi Army.
According to the report, up to 12 groups are stationed in the east of Idlib and western Aleppo as follows: Afghan-origin Fatemiyoun and Pakistan-origin Zainabiyoun brigades, Iraqi-origin al-Nujaba movement, Badr Forces, Imam Ali and Imam Hossein Brigades, the Lebanese Hezbollah, Syrian Al-Baqir Brigade, Iranian-origin Quds forces and Al-Mahdi Army, Syrian Galiboun Brigades and Owner of Rights Units.
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa earlier said that the time has come to end Iran’s encroachment on Syria and force its terrorist militias out of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
Mustafa stressed that a lasting peace begins by ending Tehran's sectarian, terrorist activities against the peoples of the region. He pointed out that Iran continues to defy the international community by increasing the number of its militias and trying to encroach into new areas.
Moreover, Mustafa pointed out that the peoples of the region suffered a lot at the hands of terrorist operations by the Iranian-backed groups. He noted that Iran stood directly or indirectly behind these operations with the aim of destabilizing the region; creating chaos in the countries of the region; and exporting the "Khomeinist revolution" to countries of the region. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
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)