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)