Coalition News
30 March 2019 In Local News

As many as 44 Syrian rights organizations and groups representing the victims sent a letter to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court expressing their support for the memorandum submitted earlier by the Guernica Centre for International Justice calling for the launch of investigations into the Assad regime’s war crimes against Syrian civilians.

Earlier this month, the Guernica Center for International Justice rights group submitted a memorandum to the International Criminal Court calling for the Assad regime to be held accountable for the forcible displacement of more than one million people to Jordan.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) published the text of the letter on its website. “The Syrian people have lost so much over the past eight years. They have been tortured, killed and forcibly displaced. All this took place amid the complete absence of law and the presence of absolute impunity.”

The signatories to the letter stressed that the International Criminal Court’s inclusion of the heinous crimes against civilians in its jurisdiction is an important step towards justice. It added that the ICC has a duty to investigate such crimes.

The NGOs said they stood ready to share the body of evidence they have with the ICC in order to contribute to justice. They said they were hoping that this move would offer a "glimmer of hope as they said they were expecting good news soon.

Although Syria is not a signatory to The Hague-based court, the Guernica Center is relying on a precedent set by the ICC in extending jurisdiction to the crime of forcible population transfers, as seen recently in a petition made by Rohingya refugees who fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh. The Center noted that the ICC had the capacity to open an investigation from the Jordanian Capital Amman as it is a signatory to the Rome Statute.

The Guernica Center said that there is a fair chance that the ICC will accept the Center’s legal submission which is directed against the leadership of the regime, its armed forces, the state security, and branches of military intelligence. It demanded that Bashar al-Assad be held fully responsible for his actions. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)

30 March 2019 In Coalition News

The Syrian Coalition denied allegations by the Assad regime about a Saudi ban on Syrian pilgrims. It stresses that these allegations are baseless as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to provide all facilitations to Syrian pilgrims.

In a press release issued on Saturday, the Coalition reiterated its appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its continued efforts to provide services and facilitations for Syrian pilgrims and to enable them to perform the hajj pilgrimage with utmost ease and smoothness.

“For the past seven years, the Syrian Coalition’s Supreme Hajj Committee has been catering for all Syrian pilgrims in coordination with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. Syrians have been able to perform the hajj pilgrimage thanks to the remarkable services and care being provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

The Coalition added: “The hajj policy covering the 2019 season (1440 Hijri) included increasing Syria’s quota to 22,500 pilgrims. We expect the quota to increase further in the coming years.”

“The Coalition, as has been the case over the past years, is keen to ensure that all Syrian citizens from everywhere in Syria have access to the services being provided by the Supreme Haj Committee without any exceptions.”

“On behalf of all the Syrian people, we reiterate our thanks and appreciation for the positions of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their efforts to serve the hajj pilgrims in general and for Syrian pilgrims in particular.”

The Supreme Haj Committee completed the reception of applications for the current hajj season in its offices in mid-March and will draw lots for the names of those accepted. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)

30 March 2019 In Political News

Arab foreign ministers on Friday condemned last week's decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory as they stressed that the move violated all international conventions and norms.

At a meeting of Arab foreign ministers on the day before Tunisia hosts the annual Arab League summit, Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit said: “the Golan is an occupied Arab Syrian land as per the international law and the UN Security Council resolutions. “Trying to grant legitimacy to the occupation is a mistake and violation of the principles of justice.”

The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Ibrahim al-Assaf rejected US recognition of Israel's ownership of the Golan Heights.

Al-Assaf warned that the announcement “will have dire consequences for peace in the Middle East.” He said that the Golan Heights is an occupied Arab Syrian land as per the relevant international resolutions as he stressed that President Trump’s announcement constituted a clear violation of the United Nations Charter.

Tunisia is hosting the 30th Arab Summit on Sunday which will bring together 20 heads of state. Tunisia’s Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui said that his country would coordinate with fellow Arab countries to contain any fallout from the US decision.

President Trump's decision has sparked Arab and international outcry as many statements were issued to condemn the move and warn of its serious repercussions for the region.

The Syrian Coalition said that the attempts by US President Donald Trump to grant legitimacy to the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights “constitutes a violation of international law and consolidation of the law of the jungle.”

On Monday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) slammed President Trump’s move as it said that “the decision by the Trump administration to deny the reality of Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights would demonstrate disregard for the protections due to the Syrian population under international humanitarian law.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)

30 March 2019 In Press Releases

Press release
Syrian Coalition
Department of Media and Communications
March 30, 2019


The Syrian Coalition denies allegations by the Assad regime’s Minister of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) about a Saudi ban on Syrian pilgrims. It stresses that these allegations are baseless.

The Coalition reiterates its appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its continued efforts to provide services and facilitations for Syrian pilgrims and to enable them to perform the hajj pilgrimage with utmost ease and smoothness.

For the past seven years, the Syrian Coalition’s Supreme Hajj Committee has been catering for all Syrian pilgrims in coordination with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. Syrians have been able to perform the hajj pilgrimage thanks to the remarkable services and care being provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The hajj policy covering the 2019 season (1440 Hijri) included increasing Syria’s quota to 22,500 pilgrims. We expect the quota to increase further in the coming years.

The Syrian Coalition, as has been the case over the past years, is keen to ensure that all Syrian citizens from everywhere in Syria have access to the services being provided by the Supreme Haj Committee without any exceptions.

On behalf of all the Syrian people, we reiterate our thanks and appreciation for the positions of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their efforts to serve the hajj pilgrims in general and for Syrian pilgrims in particular.

29 March 2019 In Political News

The US-led coalition said that more than 1,250 civilians were killed in 34,038 airstrikes against the ISIS extremist group in Iraq and Syria during a more than four-year period.

In a statement on Thursday, the international coalition said it had conducted 34,038 strikes between August 2014 and the end of February this year.

“At least 1,257 civilians have been unintentionally killed by Coalition strikes since the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve,” it said.

The coalition's statement added: "We continue to employ thorough and deliberate targeting and strike processes to minimize the impact of our operations on civilian populations and infrastructure."

It said the death toll was based on information available to the coalition.

Airwars, an NGO which monitors civilian casualties from air strikes worldwide, estimates that at least 7,595 civilians have been killed in coalition bombing raids — well in excess of the total acknowledged by the coalition.

On 11 September, the international coalition forces carried out deadly airstrikes east of the city of Deir Ezzor, killing many civilians, including women and children as part of the final push against ISIS’s last holdout in Syria.

The Syrian Coalition has repeatedly condemned any military targeting of civilians across Syria. It said it would reject any justification from the international coalition for the bombing of civilians as it demanded that those responsible be held to account. It also called for taking utmost precautions when launching airstrikes against ISIS.

The US-led international coalition early last month admitted its airstrikes have killed more than 1,190 civilians in Syria and Iraq since mid-2014. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)

29 March 2019 In Political News

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stressed that President Donald Trump's recognition of the sovereignty the Israeli occupation over the Syrian Golan Heights will not be accepted by the UN General Assembly or the Security Council.

In a town hall meeting with students that was broadcast on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram on Thursday, President Erdogan said that the UN resolutions asserted the Golan Heights is a Syrian land and that the Israeli occupation has no right to lay claim to that geographical area.

“President Trump thinks he is the only one calling the shots in this world. We say to him you will not be able to attain everything you want. Last week I called the French president and asked him about his opinion of Trump's decision. He told me that he shared my view and that he would meet President Trump and would express his rejection of the decision,” President Erdogan said.

The Turkish president regretted that the Gulf States and Islamic countries did not take a firm stance against Trump's decision on the Golan Heights. He reiterated his insistence on continuing to support the issues of the Islamic nation regardless of what some leaders will say.

Moreover, President Erdogan stressed that it is his duty to defend the nation's interests as the current head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. He vowed he would continue to do so even if the Islamic countries stuck to their lackluster positions.

The Syrian Coalition earlier said that the attempts by US President Donald Trump to grant legitimacy to the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights “constitutes a violation of international law and consolidation of the law of the jungle.” It warned the international community against “remaining silent about any allusions to the territorial integrity of Syria.”

A Financial Times’ editorial on Monday said that President Trump has “set a dangerous precedent that risks repercussions far beyond the region,” adding that “Donald Trump has once again displayed a reckless disregard for international norms.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)

29 March 2019 In Local News

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that about 4,247 people have gone missing in the province of Raqqa, noting that many may be buried in the mass graves that have been discovered in the province in recent months. It stressed that it is the responsibility of the United Nations to identify the bodies in those graves.

In a report released on Thursday, the Network said that at least 2,323 civilians, including 543 children and 346 women, were killed in ‘Operation Euphrates Rage’, which was launched by the militias of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) to drive ISIS out of Raqqa. It said that the majority of those were killed in shelling by the PYD militia and airstrikes by the international anti-ISIS coalition and were buried in public parks, playgrounds, and courtyards.

The report indicated that 4,823 civilians, including 922 children and 679 women, were killed in the province of Raqqa from March 2011 to March 2019. Of those, 1,829 were killed at the hands of the Assad regime and 241 others at the hands of the Russian forces. The figure also included 942 civilians who were killed by ISIS and 308 others who were killed by the PYD militia. The airstrikes by the international anti-ISIS coalition killed 1,133 civilians while 367 others were killed in attacks that the monitoring group said were untraceable.

The Network also said that at least 4,247 people, including 219 children and 81 women, have gone missing in the province of Raqqa since March 2011. Of those, 1,712 people were forcibly disappeared by the regime forces, 2,125 people by ISIS, and 288 by the PYD militia.

The monitoring group added that the PYD militia is not following the appropriate procedures when digging out the bodies, such as the collection of samples from the bodies. It stressed that such procedures are necessary to identify the bodies through the making of DNA tests for comparison and matching.

The Network warned the PYD militia against tampering with the mass graves and the destruction of evidence. It emphasized the need to establish a laboratory where samples collected from the bodies could be compared with samples taken from relatives of the missing persons. It also called for establishing a database of the missing persons and to speed up the demining operations in order to facilitate the return of civilians to their homes in Raqqa and the digging up of the bodies buried in mass graves.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier called for highlighting the issue of mass graves and to follow up on the digging up of the bodies. It also called for issuing recommendations to the UN Security Council to take action to disclose the fate of the tens of thousands who went missing in Raqqa. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)

29 March 2019 In Coalition News

President of the Syrian Coalition, Abdurrahman Mustafa, stressed the importance of the report issued recently by Amnesty International which said that the Assad regime and Russia were targeting civilians and vital facilities in the province of Idlib.

President Mustafa called for the report to be put "before the leaders of the free world,” stressing that they have a responsibility to put an end to the violations and war crimes against civilians “as the party capable of reining in the criminal and his supporters and holding them accountable.”

“The conclusions of Amnesty International confirmed what we already know very well,” President Mustafa said in comments he posted on Twitter on Friday. “The strategy that the regime and its allies are pursuing in their war against the Syrian people is based on blatantly violating the conventions and laws as well as the targeting of civilians.

Amnesty International on Thursday issued a detailed report confirming previous reports about attacks by the Assad regime forces with Russian backing targeting residential areas and vital facilities in Idlib province. Amnesty’s conclusions relied on eyewitness accounts, photos and videos, and satellite imagery.

“These were direct attacks on civilian objects or indiscriminate attacks,” Amnesty International said after verifying six attacks.

Amnesty went on to say that “the ongoing attacks in Idlib fit the same pattern we’ve seen before, in Aleppo, Dara’a, Damascus Countryside, whereby Syrian government forces hit hospitals, medical facilities, emergency responders, bakeries, schools, leaving people no choice but to flee.”

During a recent European tour, a delegation from the Coalition highlighted the Assad regime’s military escalation against civilians in Idlib. It stressed the importance of providing protection for civilians in the liberated areas to avoid a new humanitarian crisis and fresh waves of refugees to neighboring countries. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)

28 March 2019 In Local News

A former female inmate who was held in the Assad regime prisons recounted the brutal torture and abuse she and her cellmates suffered while in detention. She said that war crimes are taking place inside in these prisons as did many human rights groups.

Speaking to local newspaper Inab Baladi on Wednesday, Raniya Abdulhakim described her ordeal as "horrific." During the six years she spent in custody, she said that she saw and heard the cries and screams of over 1,000 women being tortured, the majority of whom died in detention.

The 30-year-old woman from Homs province said she was detained at a regime checkpoint back in 2011. “I was on my way to Damascus when a regime checkpoint stopped me and told me they needed me for two hours only. But I was held for six years during which I endured unimaginable torment. I have never expected that a human being can do this.”

“I was accused of communicating with rebel fighters and helping army officers defect. They even accused me of involvement in a bombing in Jisr al-Shughour. I was detained along with my three children: Mohammed, 6, Elaf 4, and Maryam, 9 months,” Raniya said.

“At first we were held in a detention center near the town of Deir Shimayel in western Hama province for six months. We saw detainees being subjected to various methods of torture. My kids also saw me being tortured and mistreated, which was for me harder than death.”

Raniya was then taken to Damascus, where she was held in the various security branches belonging to the Military Security Branch and the Air Force Intelligence Directorate. While there, she said she saw detainees being subjected to indescribable torture, such as rape, burning, and removal of the skin and nails.

She went on to say that her cellmates were brutalized to the extent that they all wanted to die to be spared the torture and abuse they were subjected to day and night.

Raniya added that when she returned to Homs to search for her family, the neighbors told her that all her family members had died already. “Some were slaughtered in the Hula Massacre while others died as a result of the shelling. The rest fled to the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta where they died in the sarin attack that hit the region back in the summer of 2013.”

“In 2017, I was taken out of the prison and dumped in a street in Damascus. It took my children many months to recognize me. When I was detained I was 24 years-old and they were too little to remember me.”

Raniya concluded by addressing all those who revolted against the regime to remind them that “thousands of Syrian women are still held in the Assad regime's prisons screaming day and night and subjected to unimaginable torture. Getting those women out is the responsibility of every free revolutionary. They have been detained for nothing but the revolution.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)

28 March 2019 In Coalition News

Amnesty International has confirmed the reports about attacks by the Assad regime forces with Russian backing targeting residential areas and vital facilities in Idlib province. Amnesty’s conclusions relied on eyewitness accounts, photos and videos, and satellite imagery.

Amnesty on Thursday said that the Assad regime forces, supported by Russia, hit a hospital, blood bank and other medical facilities as well as a bakery and a school in towns and cities under the control of armed opposition groups in Idlib.

These were direct attacks on civilian objects or indiscriminate attacks, Amnesty International said after verifying six attacks.

Many towns and villages were declared ‘disaster areas’ after weeks of relentless bombardment forced all of their residents to flee.

The Syrian Coalition described these attacks as constituting "war crimes," calling on the international community to stop watching idly by and doing nothing other than counting the number of victims.

Amnesty went on to say that “the ongoing attacks in Idlib fit the same pattern we’ve seen before, in Aleppo, Dara’a, Damascus Countryside, whereby Syrian government forces hit hospitals, medical facilities, emergency responders, bakeries, schools, leaving people no choice but to flee.”

The Syrian Coalition condemned the Assad regime’s ongoing violations of the Idlib Agreement as it called on the international community to preserve the agreement and consolidate the ceasefire in place.

During a recent European tour, a delegation from the Coalition highlighted the Assad regime’s military escalation against civilians in Idlib. It stressed the importance of providing protection for civilians in the liberated areas to avoid a new humanitarian crisis and fresh waves of refugees to neighboring countries. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)

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