The Syrian National Coalition’s General Assembly on Sunday concluded its 48th meeting evening after discussing a number of important, influential issues concerning the progress of the work of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) and the political process, especially the work of the Constitutional Committee at the UN Office in Geneva.
The meeting brought together President Anas Al-Abda, Head of the Syrian Interim Government, Abdurrahman Mustafa, Co-chair of the Syrian Negotiations Commission Nasr Al-Hariri, and Co-chair of the Constitutional Committee, Hadi Al-Bahra.
President Al-Abda gave an overview on the work of the Presidential Body in the past two months, most notably the visit to the Kingdom of Morocco and the international visits, which included several European countries to mobilize support for the cause of the Syrian people, especially the creation of a safe environment for civilians in the liberated areas. The tour also aimed to mobilize support for the Syrian Negotiations Commission in its participation in the work of the Constitutional Committee.
The General Assembly reviewed the reports that were submitted by SIG and its Head, Abdurrahman Mustafa highlighting the difficulties they are facing. SIG’s ministers talked about the work that has been done in the areas of services, health, education, local councils, financial situation, the proposed projects, and the formation of a judiciary council.
The General Assembly focused its attention on the detailed overview that was made by SIG’s Minister of Defense, Major General Salim Idris, on the steps made to establish the Syrian National Army. Idris also talked about the SNA’s vital role in Operation Peace Spring and its swift liberation of large swathes of Syrian territory with the support of the Turkish Armed Forces.
With regards to the political process, the General Assembly listened to a detailed overview from Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr Al-Hariri, and Co-chair of the Constitutional Committee, Hadi Al-Bahra, on the atmosphere and efforts made to convene the first session of the Constitutional Committee and the mechanisms of work agreed upon with the United Nations.
The General Assembly emphasized the need to draft a new constitution for the country that preserve rights and ensure the separation of powers. It also stressed the need to discuss the rest of the baskets, especially the baskets of governance and elections in parallel with the work of the Constitutional Committee in accordance with the relevant international resolutions on Syria, especially the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN resolution 2254.
The Coalition saluted the Iraqi and Lebanese people in their uprising against corruption and sectarianism as it salutes all Arab peoples demanding freedom and justice. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Interim Government’s Minister of Defense, Major-General Salim Idris, briefed the Syrian National Coalition on the latest efforts to develop the Syrian National Army (SNA) and the results of Operation Peace Spring.
Idris pointed out that the military operation achieved important achievements for the Syrian revolution, namely the elimination of terrorist organizations and the liberation of large swathes of territory in Raqqa and Hasaka provinces, which helped the return of the displaced and refugees to their areas of origin.
Idris also gave an overview on the stages of the military operation since its inception and the mechanism of cooperation with the Turkish army. He stressed that the SNA’s General Staff gave clear instructions on the protection of civilians and their property as well as on focusing on the military targets of terrorist elements only.
Moreover, Idris stressed that the SNA forces entered dozens of towns and villages without causing any damage to public or private property and dealt with civilians with utmost fairness.
Idris pointed to significant progress in the efforts to organize the SNA’s military and administrative formations, stressing the determination to continue to develop skills and attract all military factions that defend the Syrian revolution and its principles.
He also said that the Department of Morale and Ethics in the Syrian National Army, the armed forces and security forces issued a Code of Ethics clarifying the goals of the SNA and the rules governing its conduct conforming with international humanitarian law. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The meetings of the Syrian National Coalition’s General Assembly kicked off on Saturday and discussed the latest developments in Syria, especially the Assad regime and its allies’ escalating onslaught against civilians in Idlib province.
President Anas Al-Abda opened the session by observing a minute of silence for the fallen heroes of the Syrian revolution. Participants in the meeting discussed the war crimes the Assad regime and its allies are committing in Idlib.
Members of the General Assembly strongly condemned the indiscriminate shelling of civilians, medical facilities and vital centers in Idlib. They called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities with regards to providing protection for civilians, taking swift action to put an end to the aggression, and reaching a ceasefire.
Head of the Syrian Interim Government, Abdurrahman Mustafa, and SIG’s Ministers gave an overview on the work of the ministries. They stressed they would go ahead with the implementation of the vision of the Coalition and SIG which is based on improving security and stability as well as the consolidation of civil administration and good governance. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr Al-Hariri, and Co-chair of the Constitutional Committee, Hadi Al-Bahrah, met with the US President's envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, and the State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Levant Affairs and Special Envoy for Syria, Joel Rayburn, in Istanbul, Turkey.
The two sides discussed the latest field developments, especially the Assad regime and its allies’ onslaught on civilians in Idlib province. The Commission called for the imposition of a ceasefire and ensuring protection for civilians.
The Coalition stressed that the shelling of civilians and vital civilian centers, such as medical facilities and service centers, is aimed at disrupting the political process.
The two sides discussed the political process in all its aspects, most notably the work of the Constitutional Committee which concluded its first meeting in Geneva on Friday. Al-Bahra gave an overview on the progress of the work of the first session as he stressed that members of the Constitutional Committee are on a purely Syrian national mission that is sovereign and independent. He also stressed the need for an effective UN role in the process as a facilitator.
Al-Bahra stressed that drafting a new constitution for the country does not represent a solution in itself, but is a gateway to the activation of the Geneva negotiating process, which includes three other baskets, especially the two baskets of governance and elections leading to complete implementation of the relevant international resolutions, especially UN resolution 2118 (2013), and resolution 2254 (2015).
For their part, the US officials expressed their support for a ceasefire as they stressed the importance of protecting civilians and stopping the aggression on Idlib.
The US diplomats commended the positive engagement of the Syrian Negotiations Commission and its representatives in the Constitutional Committee and in the management of the meetings. They said that this proved the Commission’s commitment to finding a political solution in Syria.
They also made it clear that they share the Commission’s vision for a solution in Syria that is based on the complete implementation of UN Resolution 2254. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian National Coalition, Anas al-Abda, met Director of the European Commission’s Refugee Fund and Technical Assistant at the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office, Pedro Luis Garcia, and discussed with them the situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The two sides agreed to continue communication and coordination in order to provide the necessary assistance to Syrian refugees and help alleviate their suffering.
President Al-Abda stressed the importance of focusing on providing assistance in all areas, especially in the areas of health and education through the provision of scholarships for students, the provision of free Turkish language courses, and supporting small businesses.
The talks touched on the situation of IDP in northwestern Syria. President al-Abda called for stepping up support for the IDP. He said: “The disaster is awful. Our people there are suffering severe shortages of basic needs.”
Moreover, Al-Abda called for coordinating with the Coalition's executive institutions, namely the Syrian Interim Government and the Assistance Coordination Unit and for making use of the reports and surveys recently prepared to identify the essential needs of the households living in those areas. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-President of the Syrian National Coalition, Oqab Yahya, met with French political advisor on Syria, Fabrice Desplechin and discussed with him the latest field and political developments in Syria. The Coalition’s Secretary-General Abdelbaset Abdullatif and a member of the political committee Yahya Maktabi took part in the meeting.
Yahya stressed the need for the international community to intervene in order to impose a ceasefire and stop the onslaught being launched by the Assad regime and its allies on Idlib province. He called on France to take serious positions that prevent the obstruction of the political process.
The meeting also touched on the work of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva. Yahya pointed to the importance of discussing the rest of the baskets in parallel with the work of the Constitutional Committee. He also stressed the need to implement international resolutions, especially the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Resolution 2254 in the order contained in those resolutions.
Abdullatif talked about the work of the Syrian Interim Government and its vision for managing the liberated areas. He pointed out that the Ministry of Local Administration has formed local councils in the towns of Tel Abyad and Ras Al-Ayn in Raqqa province. He stressed the need for the local population to be allowed to manage their areas by themselves.
Abdullatif said that efforts are underway to ensure security and stability, form a local police force, and establish an independent judiciary in the newly liberated areas.
Both sides stressed the strong relationship between the Syrian and French people as they stressed the need to strengthen that relationship and to continue coordination with the Coalition in order to exchange ideas and viewpoints. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) issued a special report on the numbers and needs of IDPs living in camps in northwestern Syria. The report relied on a survey of 320 IDP camps distributed across 14 sub-districts in Aleppo and Idlib provinces.
The study pointed to shortages of heating equipment, noting that some camps need maintenance while others need to be replaced altogether.
The aid group indicated that nine percent of the total rooms in the camps surveyed required maintenance, while 25 percent of the tents were in urgent need of repair. It also noted that 29 percent of the tents need to be replaced, while 26 percent of the prefab cabins need maintenance.
The survey pointed out that the residents of 49 IDP camps face difficulties in access to medical centers. It called for establishing major medical centers in the camps where there are large numbers of displaced people.
Moreover, ACU pointed out that at least 56,501 IDPs arrived in camps in northwestern Syria in the period between early March and mid-May as a result of the military escalation by the Assad regime and its allies in northern rural Hama and Idlib province.
ACU also said that 25 percent of the IDP camps do not have access to food baskets, stressing the need for making food security a top priority in the camps covered by the survey.
The aid group also called for providing the means of heating to the IDP camps, pointing out that 61 percent of the camps covered by the survey did not receive heating fuel last winter.
ACU called on all countries concerned with the Syrian affairs, especially the group of friends of the Syrian people, to find real solutions and provide security and safety to help the IDPs to return to their homes. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian National Coalition, Anas al-Abda, met with experts on Syria from friendly countries in the Turkish capital, Ankara as part of the efforts to put an end to the Assad regime and allies’ bombing campaign on Idlib and to provide protection for civilians in the province. Coordinator of the Coalition’s Office of Foreign Relations, Abdul Ahad Isteifo, took part in the meeting.
The meeting brought together experts from the United States, Great Britain, the European Union, New Zealand, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, and the Czech Republic.
The Coalition has launched a campaign to reach out to the various actors in Syria with the aim of mobilizing international support for a ceasefire and revitalization of the political process.
President Al-Abda stressed the need for the international community to shoulder its responsibility as he stressed the need to put an end to the Assad regime and its backers’ onslaught on Idlib province and impose a ceasefire that guarantees the safety of civilians.
Moreover, President Al-Abda called for supporting the political process to achieve a just political solution in accordance with the international resolutions, most notably the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN resolution 2254. He also stressed the need to discuss the rest of the baskets, especially the baskets of governance and elections in parallel with the work of the Constitutional Committee which convened in Geneva several days ago under the auspices of the United Nations.
The international community is facing an important and historic moment to take a serious, firm position on the side of the Syrian people who have long been subjected to an endless litany of crimes at the hands of the Assad regime and its allies, he added. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The drafting body of the Constitutional Committee on Friday concluded its first meeting at the United Nations Office in Geneva. The UN envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, said that the date of the next session will be on November 25.
In a press conference at the end of the first meeting of the drafting body, Pedersen stressed the importance of discussing the rest of the baskets, especially the baskets of governance and elections. He stressed that the discussion of the Constitution alone is not enough to bring about a political solution in Syria.
Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr Al-Hariri, reaffirmed the commitment of the Commission’s representatives in the Constitutional Committee to the unity, independence of the Syrian people and Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty as well as the pursuit of the desired political transition meeting the aspirations of the Syrian people and the relevant international resolutions, especially the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN resolution 2254.
For his part, Co-chair of the Constitutional Committee, Hadi Al-Bahra, pointed out that the first round of talks ended with a discussion of the ideas and suggestions put forward by members of the expanded committee at the start of the meeting.
Al-Bahra also stressed that the members of the Constitutional Committee are on an important national mission, stressing that the new constitution should include all Syrians and contain all ideas and visions as well as put and end to an era that saw tremendous sacrifices and ensure the return of refugees to a homeland for all Syrians.
Moreover, Al-Bahra stressed the need for the constitution to guarantee human dignity, guarantee freedom and equal rights, and highlight the diversity of Syrian society and its diverse culture. “There is an obligation on us to be loyal to our country and our people as well as draw up together a draft constitution in which the Syrian people are the decision makers.” (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian National Coalition, Anas al-Abda, met with the ambassadors of the European Union countries in the Turkish capital, Ankara and discussed with them the latest on the ground and political developments in Syria, especially the situation in Idlib and east of the Euphrates.
President Al-Abda stressed the importance of international, urgent action to stop the Assad regime and its backers’ onslaught on civilians in Idlib province. He pointed out that the regime’s resumption of bombings and shelling is aimed at undermining all chances of reaching a political solution.
President Al-Abda called on the European Union to ratchet up pressure on all actors, specifically Russia, to support the work of the Constitutional Committee in the framework of a broader political process and prevent the regime from blocking this bath.
President Al-Abda said that the Coalition's priority is to support the work of the Syrian Interim Government in the liberated areas with the aim of establishing civil administration; improving services for the civilian population, and establishing good governance in those areas.
The meeting also touched on the work of the Syrian-Turkish Joint Committee formed to follow up on the situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey. President Al-Abda gave an overview on the work of the Committee in terms of providing facilitations and settling the status of many Syrian nationals in Turkey. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)