Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr Al-Hariri, on Friday held a press conference to talk about the latest grave developments in Idlib province and about the recent meetings being held by independent figures in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Al-Hariri said that “the sky over Idlib is seldom void of warplanes and airstrikes as if this region was not covered by any agreement.” He stressed that this requires urgent action by all states of the world to avert a major humanitarian catastrophe in the region.
Al-Hariri pointed out that hundreds of thousands of civilians are heading towards the border with Turkey as he warned of a fresh refugee crisis. He added that the international community, which has so far been unable to fulfill its legal responsibilities, namely the protection of civilians, must take humanitarian action to meet the needs of those in need.
Al-Hariri declared Idlib a disaster area, stressing the need to deal with it accordingly, and added: “This does not absolve the international community and the guarantor states from their responsibilities, which must not be assumed through reaching a short-term truce but by the establishment of a nationwide ceasefire.
Al-Hariri also talked about the meetings recently being held by the independent figures in Riyadh as he emphasized the vital role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a regional, pivotal state. He added that no one can deny the Kingdom's support for the Syrian people in all areas.
He pointed out that key components of the Syrian Negotiations Commission objected to the mechanism under which those meetings took place. He indicated that those objections came in accordance with a legal principle as there is no any legal basis for holding such meetings. He noted that these meetings needed consultation, coordination and involvement of all the Syrian parties with the aim of ensuring a broader representation, which will be in the interest of the Syrian people and their cause.
Moreover, Al-Hariri pointed out that the meetings were hastily held at a time when the attention of the world is directed to the Constitutional Committee. He stressed that this will negatively affect the Commission’s work, adding that the holding of these meetings came at a time when a humanitarian disaster is unfolding in Idlib. “The number one priority should be to address the situation in Idlib and help civilians being affected by the brutal bombing.”
“One of the objections stated that the list of invitees to the meeting did not contain any personality from the liberated areas,” Al-Hariri said, adding that “many of the personalities were not independent, but affiliated with political blocs and parties. The list of invitees was dominated by the language of nepotism, favoritism, relatives, and personal interests.”
“This evoked anxiety and gave the impression that the aim of the meeting was to increase the representation of certain political components at the expense of other components of the Commission.”
“Hosting the opposition differs from the making of an opposition. The Syrian opposition must have a major role in preparing and arranging meetings. We can only be Syrians. Our approach to any issue stems from how this step will beneficial to the revolution and the interests of Syrian people.”
Al Hariri went on: “We will not accept or wish to be part of any axis,” expressing his hope “that all axes will keep the Syrian people away from political squabbling.”
“We have reservations over the mechanism of holding the meetings, not over the list of invitees. The components of the Commission, therefore, believes that it is not concerned with these meetings nor will it accept their results.”
Al-Hariri warned against the defragmentation of the Syrian opposition as threatening the work of the long-awaited Constitutional Committee in addition to giving the Assad regime a pretext to disrupt its work, which will threaten the political process as a whole.”
He asked the Kingdom and its “wise leadership, HE the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs to consider the points that he raised as well as to remember the tragedy of the Syrian people and to look for a way out through calm diplomatic dialogue aimed at overcoming this issue.”
“Protecting the opposition against disunity is at the hands of our brothers in the Kingdom,” he said, stressing that the Syrian opposition must not to be brought back to years of divisions and tensions. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition’s Department of Foreign Relations sent letters to the missions of friendly and sisterly states to extend good wishes on the occasion of Christmas and to urge serious action to avert an imminent humanitarian disaster in Idlib province.
The letters came as part of an extensive diplomatic contacts being launched by the Coalition President, Anas al-Abda and the Department of Foreign Relations to mobilize international support for an immediate end to the Assad regime and Russia’s onslaught on Idlib.
Head of the Department, Abdel-Ahad Steifo, said that while the world is celebrating the Christmas, Russia and the Assad regime are committing the most heinous crimes against civilians. “While you are reading my letter, a humanitarian disaster is unfolding in Idlib province as a result of the crimes, relentless bombardment, and the continued mass displacement. More people are being victimized, while the civil defense teams are straining themselves to save lives.”
“We always say that after Idlib, there is no other Idlib. Idlib is now minor Syria. Therefore, you can imagine the extremely catastrophic conditions and the horrific disaster awaiting us in the coming days,” Steifo said.
He called on all states to make every effort to ensure an end to the suffering of the Syrian people; stop the Russian and the Assad regime’s ongoing onslaught; and enforce UN resolutions on Syria, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Resolution 2254.
Moreover, Steifo called on the international community to take urgent, serious action to avert a major humanitarian disaster in Idlib, expressing the hope that the new year will carry peace and salvation as well as realization of the Syrian people’s aspirations for freedom and dignity.
Steifo stressed that the Coalition is looking forward for more joint work and strengthening of relations in a way that brings freedom, democracy, and peace to Syria. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Interim Government’s Ministry of Defense categorically denied reports about sending fighters of the Syrian National Army (SNA) to Libya, stressing that the SNA will continue to serve and defend the Syrian people.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Ministry said that “the SNA’s priority is to defend our people from the Assad regime's militias as well as its Russian and Iranian backers and their affiliated separatist, terrorist groups seeking to tear the country apart.”
“Fighters of the Syrian National Army will remain on our land battling sectarianism and tyranny so that our people can live in peace,” the statement said.
The Ministry emphasized that the SNA will continue to serve and defend the Syrian people, especially in the face of the Russian barbaric onslaught which was imposed by the imbalance of power on the ground. It stressed that the SNA will spare no effort to defend the Syrian people and enable them to regain freedom and dignity. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Interim Government’s Minister of Local Administration and Services, Mohamed Suleiman, met with heads of provincial councils at the Ministry’s headquarters in the town of Afrin in rural Aleppo.
The meeting discussed the continued mass displacement of the civilian population by the Assad regime and its backers, the most recent of which is taking place in Idlib province. Participants in the meeting put forward suggestions for solutions to cope with the humanitarian disaster and meet the needs of the IDP.
The participants also discussed the reality of the Syrian Interim Government and ways to improve its performance, especially that of the Ministry and ways to beat off the growing challenges.
Suleiman talked about his Ministry’s plans for the coming period as he stressed the importance of integration of the work of SIG’s institutions in accordance with to the tasks assigned to each institution. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Coordinator of the Syrian National Coalition’s Office of Refugee Affairs, Amal Sheikhou, met with HE Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Ahmed bin Hassan Al Hammadi and discussed with him ways to provide urgent support to civilians being displaced by the Assad regime and Russia’s escalating onslaught on Idlib.
The visit to Doha came as part of efforts being made by the Coalition to mobilize international support for an end to the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Idlib. Arranged in coordination with the Syrian embassy in Qatar, the visit will last for three days during which Sheikhou will be meeting with Qatari authorities and humanitarian organizations in order to secure support for people in need in the liberated areas.
Sheikhou gave an overview on the latest developments in Idlib and the dire humanitarian conditions resulting from the ferocious onslaught the Assad regime and Russian forces have launched on the province for over ten days. The assault has forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and caused dozens of casualties among civilians.
Sheikhou pointed to the increasing strain humanitarian organizations have to cope with as a result of the escalating military operations and the displacement of tens of thousands of people who were left without shelter amid decreasing temperature and freezing cold. She also pointed to the inability of humanitarian organizations working in the liberated areas to cope with the growing needs of the newly displaced people.
Moreover, Sheikhou stressed the need to find a solution and an immediate end to these attacks. She also discussed ways of support and emergency response in cooperation with international organizations and Qatari charities.
For his part, Al Hammadi expressed his dismay at the deteriorating situation in those areas. He stressed the need for swift action to save what could be saved and seek a solution that would bring an end to the enormous suffering of the Syrian people. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Members of the Syrian National Coalition participated in a symposium that was held in the town of Azaz in rural Aleppo on the grave situation in Idlib province and its impact on the work of the Constitutional Committee and the political process as a whole. The participants included Co-chair of the Constitutional Committee, Hadi al-Bahra.
Held within the context of "the Voice of the Local Community in the Constitution," the symposium was organized by the Stabilization Committee of the Syrian Interim Government. It also brought together member of the Constitutional Committee on behalf of civil society organizations, Huda Serjawi, representatives of the Free Aleppo Provincial Council and other local councils, and revolutionary and political bodies.
The participants discussed the Assad regime and Russia’s escalating onslaught on Idlib, the war crimes taking place against civilians and their impact on the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, and the future of the political solution in Syria.
Al-Bahra gave an overview on the latest session of the work of the Constitutional Committee, the regime’s disruption of its work by procrastinating in the submission of proposal for the agenda, and its insistence on discussing issues that lie outside the framework of the Committee’s work.
Al-Bahra also talked about the negotiating process aimed at finding a political solution in accordance with UN resolution 2254, the four baskets enshrined in the resolution, and the differences on the stage of implementation which must be in accordance with the sequence and order spelled out in the resolution.
The participants began the discussions by holding a sit-in protest to show solidarity with Idlib and condemn the crimes against civilians. They called on the international community to assume its legal responsibilities with regards to the protection of civilians, ensuring an immediate end to the onslaught on Idlib, and ensuring the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Secretary-General of the Syrian National Coalition and Deputy Head of the Syrian Supreme Hajj Committee, Abdulbasit Abdullatif and Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Abdul Fattah bin Suleiman Mishat on Wednesday signed the Hajj policy handling the applications of intending Syrian pilgrims for the 2020 Hajj season.
Abdullatif began the meeting by talking about the dire conditions in Idlib province and the massacres being committed by the Assad regime and Russia against civilians. He thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its continued support for the Syrian people and their legitimate rights to freedom and dignity as well as for acknowledging the Syrian Supreme Hajj Committee as an official body representing Syria in arranging the affairs of Syrian pilgrims.
Abdullatif pointed to the importance of continued coordination and cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Hajj to ensure the provision of services as well as all types of care for the Syrian pilgrims who numbered 22,500 pilgrims in the latest hajj season.
Mishat praised the performance of the Syrian Supreme Hajj Committee, its coordination and distinguished work in serving the Syrian pilgrims.
The Syrian Supreme Hajj Committee of the Syrian National Coalition has been responsible for handling the affairs of Syrian pilgrims for the eighth consecutive year. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
As part of the plan of the Syrian Interim Government's and the Ministry of Education to improve education in the liberated areas, SIG’s Head Abdurrahman Mustafa opened the Free University of Aleppo building in the town of Azaz in rural Aleppo.
The opening ceremony was attended by SIG’s Ministers and President of the Free University of Aleppo, Yassin Khalifa. SIG said that the move came as part of its plans to "expand the areas of education and remain a distinguished educational tool in preparing generations that take advantage of the means of technology and modern science."
Mustafa stressed that the opening of the university in the liberated areas is an important step to provide the liberated areas with qualified academic and administrative staff. He pointed out that the move confirms SIG’s seriousness in its endeavors to support education and build educational edifices meeting the needs of the Syrian people.
Mustafa added that SIG will open other colleges in different educational fields, noting that this provides an opportunity to lay the foundations for participation in the process of the development of institutions and in improving stability in the liberated areas
He called for unifying the efforts and active contribution by the educational staff to achieve the plans drawn up for the educational process. He said that these plans form the basis for future success as he praised all the efforts being made by workers and administrative staff “to open the university which stands as a cultural edifice of our people." (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-president of the Syrian National Coalition, Oqab Yahya, on Monday held a press conference to talk about the grave developments in Idlib province. He stressed the need to stop the Assad regime and Russia’s onslaught against civilians, adding that the friends of the Syrian people must prove that they are real friends in such dire circumstances.
Yahya said that the reality on the ground requires taking effective measures to save civilians in Syria and salvage the credibility of the United Nations.
He called for an immediate halt to the ongoing onslaught on Idlib; saving the wounded and transferring them to receive the necessary treatment; expanding the scope of humanitarian assistance to meet the basic and emergency needs in the areas of shelter, food, education, health and services for the IDP and residents of those areas.
Yahya called for the UN Security Council members to submit draft resolutions with Russia being considered as a party to the conflict in accordance with provisions of Chapter VI and paragraph 3 of Article 52, with the activation of paragraph 3 of Article 27 of the UN Charter stipulating that sates that are parties to a conflict abstain from voting.
Moreover, Yahya called for referring the situation in Syria to the UN General Assembly in order to take deterrent measures in cases of non-compliance on the part of the regime and its backers with international resolutions.
Yahya said that there is a need to continue the delivery of cross-border humanitarian aid by renewing UN Security Council resolutions 2165 (2014) and 2449 (2018), or through an alternative mechanism that bypasses the Russian veto used to block the international consensus on the UN Security Council and which was repeatedly used as a tool of warfare against the Syrian people.
Yahya pointed out that the Syrian National Coalition’s political committee is in permanent session and it conducts extensive contacts with all sides to ensure an immediate end to military operations. He noted that the Coalition had sent letters to all active states and international organizations stressing the need for an immediate end to the criminal onslaught on Idlib province.
Furthermore, Yahya said that the Assad regime, Russian occupation, and the Iranians reject all international solutions and insist on pursuing a terrorist criminal solution. “They are also showing utter disregard for the United Nations resolutions and the principles of international law and showing total disrespect and insults for the international community which receives them with a complete lack of responsibility towards the lives of the victims.” (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition’s political committee held an emergency meeting to discuss the grave developments in Idlib resulting from the Assad regime and Russia’s intensifying onslaught against the province.
Members of the committee worked out a plan to urge the international community and major actors to show a united, firm stance with regards to the protection of civilians and ensuing an end to the systematic bombardment of residential areas, public facilities, and medical centers.
They stressed that the international community’s continued inaction towards the war crimes taking place against civilians in Idlib does not absolve it of the legal tasks entrusted to it. They called for the implementation of international resolutions, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN resolution 2254, including articles 12, 13 and 14 on the establishment of a ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.
Members of the committee urged members of the UN Security Council to submit draft resolutions confronting Russia as a party to the conflict, which will prevent it from voting in implementation of the provisions of Chapter VI and paragraph 3 of Article 52 and 27 of the United Nations Charter, which stipulates the abstention of parties to conflicts from voting on draft UN resolutions.
The committee stressed that the crimes the Assad regime is committing against civilians with direct Russian support constitute a blatant violation of international law and international humanitarian law. It said that the targeting of civilians while fleeing the bombardment amounts to genocide as it aims to kill as many civilians as people. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)