The Syrian Coalition held the international community responsible for the Assad regime’s continued crimes against Syrian civilians, especially its repeated use of chemical weapons. It stressed that the silence about these crimes and the use of chemical weapons has encouraged the regime to commit further crimes and escalate its attacks on civilians.
In a press release marking the second anniversary of the Assad regime’s chemical weapons attack on the town of Douma near Damascus, the Coalition said that Russia continues to block all efforts aimed at ensuring accountability and has been avidly seeking to sabotage all opportunities for solution through diplomatic and political ways.
“The appropriate, effective response to the Assad regime’s crimes and the situation that Russia seeks to consolidate requires the urgent implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions. They also require international action to ensure that the Assad regime, Iran and Russia respect these resolutions; engage in the political process; and start the process of political transition in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012 UN Security Council resolutions 2118 and 2254 under the auspices of the United Nations,” the Coalition said.
The Syrian Coalition held the Assad regime and its allies responsible for these chemical attacks, murders and displacement as it stresses the responsibility of the international community for bringing the criminals to justice. It called for a common position to bring war criminals from the regime officials to justice before the ICC.
Moreover, the Coalition stressed the need to reactivate the Joint International Investigation Commission, refer the war crimes in Syria to the International Criminal Court, and to impose the most severe sanctions against anyone whose hands are stained with the blood of the Syrian people. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdulrahman Mustafa and members of the political committee on Tuesday met with Joel Rayburn, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Levant Affairs and Special Envoy for Syria in the U.S. State Department and an accompanying team. The two sides discussed the progress in the dialogue on the establishment of a safe zone east of the Euphrates and sparing the region any military action.
The two sides also discussed the latest political and field developments in Syria, most notably the serious military escalation by the Assad regime and its allies in northern Syria, the United States’ recent decision to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist group, and the issue of the safe zone.
President Mustafa said that the Assad regime continues to commit crimes against unarmed civilians in the provinces of Idlib, Aleppo and Hama, noting that the regime and its allies have most recently used the white phosphorous and cruise missiles in their bombing campaign.
President Mustafa underlined the importance of holding the Assad regime accountable for these crimes as key to the political process that was laid out in international resolutions on Syria, most notably the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. He called on the United States and its allies to ratchet up pressure on the Assad regime to force it to respect the Idlib ceasefire agreement and agree on the resumption of the political process.
With regard to the issue of east of the Euphrates River, President Mustafa stressed the importance of US-Turkish agreement in that region. He also underlined the important role the Syrian Interim Government could play in governance. He went on to say that the Syrian Coalition is working on the restructuring of the Syrian Interim Government and developing a new plan of action to operate in Syria’s north. He pointed to the importance of support from friendly countries for the success of these efforts.
For his part, Mr. Rayburn said that his country is currently focusing on supporting accountability and preventing impunity. He cited war crimes being committed by the Assad regime, including those that were revealed by the Caesar photos. He also touched on the latest developments in the Caesar Bill which the US already adopted.
He pointed out that Washington would not allow Iran to continue to commit crimes against civilians in Syria, adding that these crimes are one of the reasons behind the US decision to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group.
Mr. Rayburn stressed the importance of ensuring the engagement of all components of the north east region in the local councils, the continued dialogue on the establishment of a safe zone, and averting any military option. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Civil Defense said that suspected Russian long-range missiles hit the town of Jisr al-Shughour in rural Idlib as a local observatory reported that the source of the missiles is the Russian warships stationed in the Mediterranean off the Syrian coast.
The Civil Defense pointed out that the missiles pummeled residential neighborhoods in the town, injuring 12 civilians, mostly children and women as well as causing massive destruction to civilian homes.
The local newspaper Inab Baladi reported that the missiles were fired from Russian battleships stationed in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Lattakia, adding that the missiles have a range of 90 to 120 km.
The Russian air force carried out several airstrikes on the town of Kafarzeita in northern rural Hama overnight, killing a civilian and wounding ten others.
The eastern and southern parts of Idlib on Sunday were hit with cluster bombs which killed five civilians and injured 17 others in the town of Sarqib and seven others in the town of Nayrab and one in al-Khawain, according to the Civil Defense.
The Syrian Coalition said that these grave developments need to be met with serious positions by the guarantors of the agreement in the first place, stressing that the ongoing bombing campaign is a continuation of the crimes against civilians.
The Coalition called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities, particularly with regards to the maintenance of international peace and security; to intervene to stop war crimes; and to hold the perpetrators accountable. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Secretary of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee, Riyad al-Hassan, slammed remarks made by spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova who said that the issue of the departure of the head of the regime, Bashar al-Assad, is a “closed door and that everyone has already turned the page on the issue” which she said “must not be subjected to negotiations on Syria.”
Al-Hassan said that Zakharova's statement represented a blatant defiance to the Syrian people who have sacrificed thousands of lives and have demanded the departure of the regime since the beginning of the revolution. He said that Assad inherited the throne of the Assad family which has ruled the country for five decades.
Moreover, Al-Hassan said that Zakharova's remarks risk undermining efforts to achieve progress in the political processes, whether the one being sponsored by Moscow in the Sochi Conference or the UN-led process in Geneva.
The Assad regime is responsible for the killing and the forced disappearance of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, torture, war crimes and widespread violations, and the forced displacement of millions of Syrians to neighboring countries and the rest of the world.
Al-Hassan went on to say that Russian’s support for the Assad regime makes Russia a party to the conflict, which violate the decisions of the Geneva conference aimed at ending the regime’s war against the Syrian people. He pointed out that Assad's survival eliminates the possibility of forming a transitional government with full powers in Syria in line with the Geneva Communique of 2012.
Al-Hassan called for respect for UN Resolution 2254, which states that there is no lasting solution to the current crisis in Syria except through an inclusive political process in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition stressed the importance of holding accountable the Assad regime and all those responsible for war crimes in Syria in order to prevent impunity on the second anniversary of the chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhoun.
In a press release issued on Thursday, the Coalition renewed its calls to include the issue of crimes committed in Syria within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and to hold accountable all criminals and their accomplices.
The Coalition also renewed its calls to activate Article 21 of UN Security Council Resolution 2018 to impose measures against the Assad regime under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
“The massacre was just part of the long litany of crimes and violations of the International Humanitarian Law as well as of international norms and UN Security Council resolutions. Furthermore, the crime was met with a series of statements and condemnations that were merely aimed at face-saving,” the Coalition said.
The Coalition said that the reality on the ground confirms that the Assad regime insists on its policy of murder, displacement and escalation which resulted in the deaths of at least 15 civilians and the injury of dozens more in the past 24 hours. Violent shelling hit rural Hama, Aleppo and Idlib, including the town of Khan Sheikoun.
“The continued absence of any legal response to the crimes and violations taking place in Syria has consolidated the culture of impunity. It also makes the major players in the international community as indirect partners as they bear the responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.”
The Coalition went on: “This horrific chapter of the history of Syria and the region must be brought to an end through serious and responsible international position that is committed to the protection of civilians, the implementation of international law and international resolutions, and accountability.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition, in the presence of President Abdurrahman Mustafa as well as members of the presidential body and political committee, met with a delegation from the Syrian Tribal Council headed by Sheikh Rami al-Doush on Wednesday. Both sides discussed the latest political and field developments in Syria, especially the ongoing bombing campaign by the Assad regime and its allies on the demilitarized zone and the resulting civilian casualties. The also discussed the PYD’s violations against civilians such as murder, arrests and torture.
Both sides also discussed the importance of restoring stability to the areas east of the Euphrates River and the elimination of terrorist organizations in all their forms. They stressed the need to fill the void in the region and prevent the PYD militia from continuing their terrorist practices against civilians in the region.
President Mustafa said that victory against ISIS could not have been achieved without the Syrian tribes, stressing the important role of the Syrian tribes in the current stage to "preserve the social fabric and safeguard the unity of Syria and its people."
The meeting also discussed the representation of the Syrian Tribal Council in the Coalition. Mustafa said that that this issue is "very important." He added that the Coalition has always sought to incorporate representatives of all spectra of the Syrian society as part of the efforts to serve the Syrian revolution and its demands.
Moreover, President Mustafa said that the Coalition is finalizing plans to establish its headquarters inside the Syrian territory by mid-April. He noted that the Coalition has already developed a plan to restructure the Syrian Interim Government and activate its role to expand its work in the areas of governance, civil administration, and basic services.
For his part, Head of the Syrian Tribal Council, Sheikh Rami al-Doush stressed the importance of continued consultation with the Coalition as well as the coordination between the Coalition and the Council. He reaffirmed commitment to the principles of the Syrian revolution as well as the establishment of a civil, democratic state respecting all its citizens and ensuring they all live in dignity.
Participants stressed their commitment to bring down the "murderous regime" with all its symbols and pillars as they insisted on the withdrawal of all terrorist forces, sectarian militias and foreign forces which are hostile to the Syrian people from Syria. They also expressed their categorical rejection of attempts to bring about demographic change in Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition called for the provision of urgent humanitarian relief to tens of thousands of IDPs who have been affected by the flash flooding that has swept across northern Syria over the past few days.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Coalition called for the urgent provision of food and fuel for heating as well as 2,000 tents to the IDPs in Syria’s north. It noted that the situation inside the IDPs camps is catastrophic after torrential rain flooded thousands of tents and makeshift shelters.
Despite the efforts of the institutions of the Syrian Interim Government, civil defense teams and local councils, there is still a need for urgent international relief aid.
The Coalition said it was closely following the relief operations for the IDP camps in Syria’s northern provinces which have been hit with torrential rain over the past few days.
The Syrian Interim Government, in cooperation with the local councils and civil defense teams and with the help of the local population, provided relief aid for a number of IDPs camps and evacuated a number of IDPs whose tents were damaged to safe areas.
The Coalition pointed out that the vast majority of those affected have not received any relief aid yet. Makeshift shelters need urgent relief aid, which requires the implementation of an immediate emergency plan to rescue tens of thousands of those affected.
There are now more than a thousand IDP camps inside Syria and hundreds of improvised housing mostly in Syria’s north and inhabited by people who were forcibly displaced from their areas. They suffer inadequate medical and educational services as well as shortages of heating, lighting equipment and plastic sheets. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition, Abdurrahman Mustafa, congratulated the Syrian people on the occasion of the Assyrian New Year, which is also known as the Akitu Festival which falls on April 1 of every year.
“We congratulate the Assyrian people on the occasion of the Assyrian New Year, also known as the Akitu Festival,” President Mustafa said in comments he published on Twitter on Monday. He wished the Assyrian people “happy festivities with renewed spirit of the struggle alongside the people of Syria to regain the rights of all Syrians and build a national identity that is proud of all its components.”
Monday is the first day of the year 6769 of the old calendar used by the Assyrians. The Assyrian Democratic Organization issued a statement calling for peace in Syria and a political transition to a democratic system of rule that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people.
“Our festival coincides with the 8th anniversary of the Syrian revolution for freedom, justice and democracy," the Organization said, adding that the Assad regime and its allies quickly oppressed the peaceful phase of the revolution. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)