The Syrian Negotiations Commission stressed that the Assad regime “is currently in its worst state” as it described the regime as “too embattled” in response to the remarks Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently made at the Beijing summit.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Commission noted that the features of the Assad regime’s defeat and its loss of control cannot be denied neither by Syrians at home or abroad or by observers and scholars who describe the dire situation the regime is currently in.
This Assad regime will be forced to sell and lease the majority of the assets of the Syrian economy, which will deprive the Syrian people of the resources for reconstruction and burden them with heavy debts and long-term external obligations, the Commission said. It added that the Assad regime is seeking to gain more time to stay in power and avoids engaging in a political solution.
“From an objective, logical point of view, the regime controls barely 60 percent of Syria’s territory while half of the population live outside its areas after the systematic, mass forced displacement. It would not have made any military progress on the ground without external support. As it survives on the external lifeline, it cannot fight a single military battle without the help of the Russian air force and the foreign sectarian militias. These facts were confirmed by as officials of those countries.”
The Commission also pointed out that it made it clear to the Russian side, the international community and the United Nations that they seek a just political solution based on international resolutions to achieve a real, comprehensive political transition towards a democratic system of rule that is based on the rule of law, freedom and equality. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Coalition’s Department of Refugee Affairs, Amal Sheikho, said that Russia is still seeking the return of Syrian refugees outside the framework of the political solution and the implementation of UN resolutions, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Sheikho on Monday said that the Russian attempts continue at a time when the killings, detention and torture by the Assad regime and its allied militias continue unabated. She noted the Syrian refugees will face grave danger should they are forced to return in the current circumstances, citing a former Lebanese minister’s revelation about the Assad regime’s execution of returnees from Lebanon.
The recent remarks by Lieutenant General Mikhail Mezentsev of Russia regarding the extension of the grace period before the mandatory military service for the returning Syrian refugees confirmed that Russia insists on ignoring the Syrian people’s demands for comprehensive change, Sheikho said. She went to say that Russia is seeking to reduce the Syrian issue to the issues of the return of refugees and reconstruction while ignoring the real demands of the Syrian people for real change.
Sheikho noted that such remarks represent gross interference in the internal affairs of Syria as such an issue should be solely decided by the Syrian people seeking to build a democratic state that is based on freedom, dignity, justice, and equality.
Sheikho concluded her remarks by stressing that the safe return of Syrian refugees in line with the UN standards can only be ensured through a just political solution that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people for change and for living a free and dignified life away from tyranny and repression. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Harassment and violations against Syrian refugees in Lebanon have considerably increased in recent months, the latest of which was the Lebanese army’s destruction of the Yasamin camp for Syrian refugees on Wednesday. The camp belongs to the Union of Relief and Development Associations.
The Syrian Coalition condemned the onslaught on the camp as it renewed its rejection of any attempts to force the Syrian refugees to return to Syria in the current conditions involving serious risks posed by the Assad regime and its allied terrorist militias, chief among them are the Hezbollah Militia and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.
In a press release issued on Thursday, the Coalition said that these attempts, while violating the International Law, require the creation of the appropriate conditions for the voluntary, dignified return as part of a genuine political solution.
“The camp used to provide emergency services for refugees under an agreement with the Lebanese Ministry of the Interior and the UN refugee agency. The storming and demolition of the camp violated law and the above-mentioned agreement as well as international norms on the protection of refugees.”
The Coalition called on the Lebanese authorities to launch a full investigation into this crime, release those who were detained, and compensate those who were affected. All necessary measures need to be taken to hold those involved to account and prevent a repeat of such act.
“This horrible act amounting to an act of terror is clearly aimed at terrorizing the Syrian refugees; putting more pressure on them; and depriving them of their legal rights. These developments represent a new step in the way of increasing the pressure on the Syrian refugees as well as on the organizations supporting them in preparation for new campaigns of forced repatriation.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Secretary of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee, Riyad al-Hassan, stressed that the body of evidence obtained by the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) on the most serious crimes committed in Syria since March 2011 is more than enough to try the head of the regime and his corrupt clique.
Al-Hassan welcomed the positions of the friendly countries at the latest UN General Assembly meeting. He stressed that peace in Syria can only be achieved through justice and accountability as well as support for IIIM’s work to hold those involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria accountable.
Al-Hassan said that the countries concerned with upholding the values of peace and human rights in the world must work together to activate IIIM at a time when impunity looks poised to prevail amid attempts by some of the Assad regime's allies to conceal the facts about the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people.
Moreover, Al-Hassan stressed that bringing criminals in Syria to justice will not only redress the victims, but will also pave the way for holding accountable perpetrators of war crimes and human rights violators in the rest of the world.
Al-Hassan remarks came in response to UN reports about the existence of more than a million documents about crimes committed in Syria since 2011, according to the IIIM’s third report. Thee evidence includes documents, videos and photographs, and testimonies from witnesses and victims.
The UN Human Rights Council established the International Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria on August 22, 2011 to investigate all violations in the country. The UN Security Council in 2016 adopted a resolution to establish the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to assist in investigating and prosecuting crimes under international law in Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition on Wednesday opened its main office in northern rural Aleppo in an official ceremony that brought together President Abdurrahman Mustafa and big attendance, including head of the Syrian Interim Government, head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, the National Army’s leaders, heads of the judiciary, representatives of Syrian tribes, the leadership of the free police, the civil defense, and civil society organizations.
The ceremony began by raising the flag of the Syrian revolution at the office in the town of Al-Raie in rural Aleppo. The ceremony also included a military parade by the National Army as well as the civilian and military police.
President Mustafa made a speech in which he stressed the importance of the move which he described as “exceptionally important and pivotal.” He expressed his hopes for the liberation of the entire Syrian territory and the transition to a free and democratic state in line with the demands the Syrian people have been making since 2011.
President Mustafa pointed out “we have always hoped for this move and that the Syrian people and the political body representing them will have an official presence at this level on their land.”
Moreover, President Mustafa stressed that the opening of the office “will allow us to be present on the ground alongside the institutions of the Syrian Interim Government, the National Army, the local councils, and civil society organizations to serve the Syrian people and provide them with the essential services.”
President Mustafa praised “the resilience and heroism the Syrian people are showing in their struggle against tyranny and the Assad regime’s ongoing war crimes.” He pointed out that “had it not been for the immense sacrifices of the Syrian people, this area would not have been liberated from the Assad forces and the other terrorist organizations.”
President Mustafa reaffirmed the Coalition’s commitment to the goals of the Syrian revolution as well as for the Syrian people’s demands and their rights. “Commitment to the guiding principles of the Syrian revolution will always guide our actions and decisions.”
“Our top priority is the respect for the law and the rights of citizens, which has long been absent from the Syrian institutions for decades of tyranny of the Assad regime.”
“Since the very outset, the Coalition has sought to establish good governance and institutions that prioritize the service of human beings, and build institutions that achieves balance between freedom and accountability; protect the dignity of citizens; and reflect the originality of this people and respect its sacrifices.”
President Mustafa called on all forces of the revolution and the Syrian opposition to stand up to the many enormous challenges lying ahead. He said: “We need the support of all Syrians. Everyone need to support the Coalition’s efforts and uphold the principles of the revolution.”
He also stressed the need to strengthen coordination and the sharing of roles by all institutions to better serve the Syrian people. He also stressed the importance of establishing a good model for national action through the use of all expertise and the avoidance of failure. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition, Abdurrahman Mustafa, said that the opening of an office of the Coalition in the town of al-Raei in northern Aleppo, which is scheduled for tomorrow, April 24, is the beginning of a series of similar steps in the coming period. He pointed out that the Coalition will open more offices across the liberated areas, noting that the work will be divided into internal and external.
President Mustafa stressed that “the presence of the Coalition on the ground is not entirely new as many of the Coalition’s institutions have been working inside Syria for several years. Today and after important steps and efforts we take this step to open an office in Syria.”
Moreover, President Mustafa stressed that “our number one priority will be the provision of better services and the creation of jobs." "We hope that this will be reflected quickly and positively on the lives of citizens and lead to the creation of real governance in the liberated areas.”
“All of our plans in the liberated areas are centered on the provision of civilian services. These are the demands that we receive from the civilian population in these areas,” President Mustafa told Damaski news network.
“There is a need to strengthen relations and coordination between the Syrian Interim Government and local councils in the area,” President Mustafa said, adding that “plans are currently being developed to develop and restructure the Syrian Interim Government.”
“The Syrian Interim Government is operating in the Euphrates Shield, the Olive Branch areas and Rural Idlib. Outgoing head Jawad Abu Hatab and his team continue to run the Interim Government pending the selection of a new head.”
President Mustafa said that the services are the most important thing the Coalition can offer to people inside Syria, which depends on the current possibilities and funding. “We are developing our services institutions so that they are more effective in terms of the provision of services and managing the liberated areas in a way that suits the Syrian people.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Negotiations Commission on Sunday concluded its regular meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Commission held a press conference in which head of the Commission, Nasr al-Hariri, talked about the latest developments in the political process and the constitutional committee.
Hariri said that the Commission held several meetings to discuss the latest political and filed developments. It also discussed the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the al-Rukban camp, the widespread violations in Idlib province, and the ongoing negotiations on the establishment of a safe zone in northeastern Syria free of terrorist organizations.
Hariri said that the Commission met with UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen with whom it held in-depth and detailed discussions on the political process and the implementation of UN resolution 2254. The discussions were focused on the formation of the constitutional committee.
Hariri said that he expects the Constitutional Committee will launch its work soon, noting that the current discussions revolved around the sponsorship of the Committee and the rules of procedure.
Moreover, Hariri said that the Committee would serve as a gateway for the UN-led political process. "We can say now that we are about to have a constitutional committee that will be formed under the auspices of the United Nations as part of the implementation of UN resolution 2254. The Commission would participate in the Committee in good faith in order to establish a political future for Syria.”
Hariri highlighted the malicious role Iran is playing in Syria and its occupation of the country. He said that Iran is seeking to obstruct the political solution and is fighting the Syrian people on behalf of the Assad regime, stressing that there are about 100,000 Iranian fighters or linked to Iran in the country.
Hariri pointed out that "Iran’s role is persistently growing at the expense of our people. Therefore, we support any international move that may curb Iran's influence in the region in general, and in our country in particular." (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Coalition’s National Commission for the Affairs of Detainees and Missing Persons, Yasser Al-Farhan, stressed the need to hold Assad accountable at the International Conference on National, Regional and International Mechanisms to Combat Impunity and Ensure Accountability under the Law which was held in the Qatari capital Doha on 14-15 March.
Al-Farhan, who attended the conference at the official invitation of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee, warned that the continued impunity in Syria would provoke more violence in the world.
Al-Farhan said that the Syrian delegation, which included the Syrian Ambassador to Qatar Nizar al-Haraki, held several meetings with international and human rights personalities concerned with the Syrian issue in order to shed light on the situation inside Syria and to inform them about the most serious crimes and violations taking place in Syria, especially in the prisons of the Assad regime.
Al-Farhan pointed to the importance of the conference which was held in partnership with the European Parliament, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI). The conference also brought together members of the diplomatic corps and heads of foreign missions in Qatar.
The Syrian delegation reiterated its calls on the international community and human rights organizations to take urgent action to put an end to the Assad regime’s gross violations and crimes against detainees in its detention centers. It highlighted some of the most serious crimes committed since the beginning of the peaceful movement in Syria.
The Syrian delegation which was headed by Al-Farhan, called on the international organizations to activate serious mechanisms to prosecute war criminals and those responsible for these crimes, most notably heads of the security and military agencies that have committed the worst atrocities against the Syrian people. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition, Abdul Basset Hamo, said that the Assad regime’s links with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Hezbollah Militia is further worsening the suffering of the Syrian people. He stressed that the return of security and stability to Syria can only be achieved through a political solution in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Hamo said that the Assad regime sought the help of organizations that are on the UN lists of terrorist groups with the sole aim of clinging to power and saving its authoritarian, dictatorial rule.
The Assad regime is mainly to blame for the current fuel crisis in its areas and the subsequent crises that will follow, Hamo said. He stressed that the situation in Syria will further worsen as long as the Assad regime remains in power and keeps its alliance with terrorist organizations.
“Syria would not be able to invest its resources, nor would it be able to import materials from abroad because of the sanctions imposed on the Assad regime in response to the war crimes it has committed over the past eight years.”
He pointed out that the elimination of ISIS, which once controlled most of the oil fields in eastern Syria, has resulted in a sharp decline in oil supplies to the regime. He added that the current fuel crisis is yet another evidence of the close relationship and trade deals that existed between the Assad regime and ISIS in the past.
Moreover, Hamo pointed out that the current fuel crisis and the "shocking" images coming from the regime-held areas confirmed that the regime is unable to cope with return of the Syrian refugees from Lebanon any other hosting countries.
“The reality on the ground indicates that there is a real conflict of interests between Russia and Iran in Damascus," Hamo said, adding that there are conflicting forces in the structure of the regime. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The past few days have seen increased attacks on Syrian refugees in Lebanon, with a member of the Syrian Coalition describing them as “systematic” and warning of covert agreement between the Lebanese government and Russia.
The mistreatment of Syrian refugees, which included arrests and closures of shops, coincided with statements by Lebanese officials targeting Syrian refugees. The anti-refugees rhetoric amounting to provocation of hatred culminated in the killing of a 25-year-old Syrian refugee who was stabbed to death by a Lebanese man in the town of Talia in the Lebanese province of Baalbek.
Amal Sheikho, head of the Syrian Coalition’s Commission on Refugees and Displaced Persons said that “any attempt by the Lebanese government to return Syrian refugees to their country will be risky.” She added: “The reasons that led Syrian civilians to flee their country still exist as was confirmed by local and international human rights which said that killings, arrests and torture still exist.
Sheikho warned of the "frantic attempts" by some Lebanese parties to force the Syrian refugees to return before a political solution is reached. She underscored that these attempts can be categorized as part of “the forced return and violate the principles of international legality on dealing with refugees."
Moreover, Sheikho rejected Russia’s claims about giving guarantees for the safety of refugees after their return “as past experience have proved Russia as a biased party and cannot rein in the actions of the Assad regime or the Iranian terrorist militias.” She stressed that the only framework for resolving the issue of Syrian refugees is the United Nations in parallel with a just political solution.
Sheikho pointed out that no one can forget or overlook the role of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia in aiding the Assad regime in the commission of war crimes, the destruction of whole cities, towns and villages, and the mass forced displacement of their population.
Sheikho called on decision makers in the Lebanese government and other public and humanitarian officials to stand up to “the unjust project aimed at forcing the Syrian refugees to return to the hellish security services and the criminal institution that have decades-long history of intimidation of Lebanon and the Lebanese people.
Sheikho reminded all other international organizations, particularly the United Nations, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and all relevant international organizations of their responsibilities towards the Syrian refugees. She urged them to take action to stop any attempts or pressures against Syrian refuges to force them return. She said that the return must be voluntary any away from coercion or intimidation. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)