The Syrian Coalition’s General Assembly elected Anas Al-Abda as a new president for one-year presidential term. Okab Yahya, Abdel Hakim Bashar, and Dima Moussa were elected vice-presidents while Abdel Basset Abdel Latif was elected Secretary-General of the Coalition.
The elections took place during the UN General Assembly regular meeting on Saturday, which paid tribute to the fallen hero Abdul Basset Sarot who was killed fending off the Assad regime and Russia’s onslaught on Idlib and rural Hama and Aleppo.
The General Assembly also elected Abdurrahman Mustafa as a new head of the Syrian Interim Government. A new 19-member political committee was also elected during the meeting.
“It was not an easy decision to take over the leadership of the Coalition in this delicate and difficult time,” Abda said, adding “we will beat off the challenges with the help of those who we trust their wisdom and firmness.”
Abda pointed out that “we are seeking to make the Coalition a real representative of the forces of the revolution and the opposition and an umbrella that brings all Syrians together and affects the public opinion through which we will be active in the Syrian revolutionary and political scene."
The General Assembly’s meeting will conclude on Sunday and will discuss a number of important issues, especially the latest developments on the ground in northwestern Syria and the continued onslaught being launched by the Assad regime backed by the Russian and Iranian forces who are attacking civilian as well as medical facilities and infrastructure.
Tabled for discussions will also be the situation of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the escalating violations against them. The General Assembly will discuss ways to find radical solutions to ensure the refugees’ safety and meet their needs. It will also discuss ways to support the efforts of the Syrian Interim Government by establishing a governance system in the liberated areas that contributes to the stability and security of these areas and their inhabitants in all their components. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The head of the Syrian Negotiation Commission, Nasr al-Hariri, stressed that a "sustainable" political solution in Syria comes only through the formation of a Transitional Governing Body (TGB) with full executive powers in line with the UN Security Council resolutions, especially the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN resolution 2254.
The formation of the TGB is the "first step" towards reaching a political solution in Syria, Hariri said. He said that this depends on the will of the international community and Russia as well as the legitimacy of this demand in accordance with the international resolutions. He stressed that the formation of the TGB is key to implementing the UN Security Council resolution and the creation of a safe, neutral environment.
Hariri stressed the importance of implementing the humanitarian provision of the UN resolutions, including the release of detainees and holding war criminals accountable. He stressed that there will be no sustainable peace "without transitional justice.”
Moreover, Hariri pointed out that the Assad regime and Russia insist on a military solution, especially in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria which claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians. He added that this coincided with the Assad regime and Russia’s obstruction of the formation of a Constitutional Committee and stalling the political process altogether.
Hariri called on the UN and the main stakeholders to follow a new path to the political solution. He said: "We must return to the international resolutions that shaped the political solution in Syria, namely through the formation of TGB according to a specific timeline.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition discussed the latest political developments regarding Syria with a delegation from the US State Department on Friday. Both sides also discussed the international efforts to reinvigorate the Geneva process in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions, especially resolutions 2118 and 2254.
The meeting brought together a delegation from the Coalition headed by President Abdurrahman Mustafa and a delegation from the US State Department headed by Richard Outzen, senior adviser to the US envoy to Syria. They discussed the latest field and political developments in Syria, including most notably the latest military escalation by the regime and Russia in northwestern Syria and Iran’s growing influence in the institutions of the army and security as well as the Syrian society.
President Mustafa said that the US delegation “briefed us about the latest developments," pointing out that there is still an opportunity for progress in the political process, especially in the event of the formation of an expanded international group to support the efforts of the UN envoy to form the Constitutional Committee. He also said there is still opportnity for working on the negotiating process in Geneva and for discussing the rest of baskets of governance, elections, and the fight against terrorism in parallel.
President Mustafa thanked the US delegation for the efforts their country is exerting to de-escalate the situation in Syria and reach a nationwide ceasefire. He stressed the graveness of the regime’s continued bombing of civilians as well as healthcare facilities and residential buildings and the targeting of the Turkish observation points.
Moreover, President Mustafa said that the regime forces must withdraw to the pre-September 2018 lines, pointing to the need for forcing the Assad regime to abide by the ceasefire.
The Coalition’s representatives reviewed the situation of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the grave violations taking place against them. They stressed the need to take swift action to bring these violations to an end and ensure the refugees’ safety. They also stressed the need for US and international action to respond to the needs of the displaced persons in the Rukban camp near the Jordanian border and al-Hol IDP camp in al-Hasaka province as well as to ensure their safety and meet their needs.
The Coalition praised the Turkish and US efforts to reach agreements on northeastern Syria that ensure the protection and safety of the Syrian and Turkish peoples as well as their national security and territorial integrity.
The two sides exchanged views on the foundations of governance systems in the liberated areas in a way that brings greater stability and security for these areas and their inhabitants in all their components. They agreed that such governance needs also to contributes to the ultimate elimination of terrorist organizations and extremist ideology and strengthen the unity of the Syrian people and maintain Syria’s territorial integrity.
President Mustafa underscored the importance of eliminating the root causes of extremism, especially the presence of the Iranian sectarian militias and Iran's interference in the internal affairs of Syria.
He also stressed the need for the withdrawal of these militias from Syria and putting an end to the interference of the Iranian regime in Syria’s internal affairs.
Both sides stressed the need to activate accountability and transitional justice as well as the economic sanctions and legal action. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The President of the Syrian Coalition, Abdurrahman Mustafa, received the French President's Personal Representative for Syria François Sénémaud and an accompanying delegation to discuss the latest developments in Syria and the war crimes the Russian-backed Assad forces are committing against Syrian civilians in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria.
President Mustafa called on France to take serious action outside the UN Security Council with the active countries to put an end to the military attacks on civilians and medical centers. He stressed the importance of maintaining the international will to hold war criminals accountable and prevent more atrocities.
President Mustafa also underscored the need to support the Idlib agreement and recommit to the ceasefire agreement. He called on "our friends in the French government to increase the international momentum on Syria to pave the way for a comprehensive political transition and full implementation of international resolutions on political transition.” He also called for increased pressure on the Assad regime to implement UN resolutions, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Moreover, President Mustafa said that the implementation of regional agreements and international resolutions would restore stability to Syria and the region. It would also curb terrorism being fueled by the Assad regime, Iran and the other terrorist organizations, adding that this would prevent new waves of refugees.
President Mustafa thanked France for its participation in the imposition of economic sanctions on the Assad regime. He called for the ratcheting up of economic pressure on the regime and more economic sanctions, especially on the foreign companies that support the regime and violate the sanctions imposed on it.
President Mustafa talked about the PYD militias’ violations against civilians east of the Euphrates River, which he said amounted to war crimes. The PYD militias are rounding up the young people for recruitment into its ranks, he said, adding that this militia is involved in the burning of agricultural land in the region, which led to the loss of tens of thousands of vital wheat and barley crops.
For his part, the French envoy stressed the importance of reaching a ceasefire as it would "help reach a political solution." He said that the regime’s ongoing military campaign is "malignantly executed’ as it targets civilians, hospitals, schools and markets.
Sénémaud also said that his country strongly condemns these attacks. He noted that France is prioritizing the humanitarian situation of civilians and the displaced persons and are working on new ideas that will help improve their conditions and enable them cope with the crisis. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Head of the Syrian Coalition’s Department of Refugee Affairs Amal Sheikho said that the Lebanese authorities have taken "unprecedented measures against the Syrian refugees,” citing the targeting of defecting Syrian army officers in preparation for their handover to the regime.
The Department has recently held meetings with lawyers, journalists, activists and politicians concerned about the affairs of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. It discussed with them the violations against refugees and ways to take legal action to put an end to such violations and provide protection for refugees and restore their rights.
Sheikho stressed that the responsibility for the safety of Syrian refugees lies with the Lebanese authorities, calling on the United Nations to launch an urgent investigation and follow up on the cases to prevent the deportation of Syrianb refugees to the Assad regime.
Moreover, Sheikho said that tens of thousands of officers and soldiers in the Assad forces refused to carry out orders to kill civilians or shoot demonstrators, including those who fled to Lebanon to escape reprisal by the Assad regime which executes anyone who disobeyed his orders.
"We are appealing to the conscience of the world and its institutions, specifically the UNHCR and Amnesty International to intervene and prevent the handover of these officers to the Assad regime," Sheikho said.
She pointed out that Lebanon is a founding member of the United Nations and is committed to its Charter, particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She also noted that Lebanon signed the Convention against Torture, the Article 2 of which prohibits the handover of those who may be subjected to extrajudicial killing and torture.
Sheikha stressed that the Lebanese authorities are obliged to abide by the resolutions and respect the rights of refugees on their territory. She called upon those authorities to respect their constitution and the reputation of their country as well as to reconsider all recent measures against Syrian refugees who fled death and arrest. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition condemned the terrorist bombing that on Tuesday targeted the head of the local council in the town of Akhtrin in northern rural Aleppo, Khalid Dibo, led to the amputation of his feet. Another car bomb explosion targeted an imam of a mosque in the town who survived with minor injuries.
“Although Dibo was targeted in a previous assasination attempt, he continued to do his work. We hope he will recover soon and resume his duty,” the Coalition said in a press release issued on Tuesday.
“Terrorist acts and attempts to disrupt civilian life and spread chaos over the past years have all failed to break the will of the Syrian people. They are nothing but failed and desperate attempts.”
The Coalition went on: “The crimes of terrorism and its sleeper cells will not succeed in disrupting or stopping the process of building and liberation being carried out by the honorable Syrian people and for which they are making enormous sacrifices.”
The Coalition reiterated its calls on the international community to condemn the repeated terrorist bombings in Syria and to take concrete action to help impose security as well as to support a political solution by all means as the only response capable of defeating terrorism. It is imperative that the international community stop watching idly by at the expense of the security and safety of civilians. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition’s political committee on Tuesday held its regular meeting in the office of the Syrian Coalition in Aleppo countryside and discussed the ongoing bombing campaign in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria and the crimes against Syrian civilians.
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa said that the continued crimes, the starting of wars, and violation of the ceasefire have proved to the Syrian people before any one else that the Assad regime "is only seeking to destroy the country and kill as many Syrians as it can.”
President Mustafa stressed that Russia's support for and its participation in the military operations stalled the political process. Russia also encouraged the Assad regime to violate agreements and refuse to engage in the political process.
President Mustafa explained that the meeting also discussed the issues of east of the Euphrates and the arsons that ravaged tens of thousands of hectares of vital crops, causing huge losses to farmers in that region.
The committee condemned the bombing and destruction of populated areas and infrastructure. It stressed that the bravery being shown by the Free Syrian Army against aggression was admired by the Syrian people as well as their political and revolutionary forces.
The Committee reviewed reports on the situation on the ground and the dire conditions being experienced by some 400,000 displaced people because of the brutal bombardment. It underscored the importance of exertion of more efforts to provide relief and medical assistance for the displaced people, especially children, women and the sick.
Tabled for discussion was also the work of the Syrian Interim Government. President Mustafa said that they would hold meetings with the SIG ministers and heads of the local councils with the aim of reviewing the projects carried out in the liberated areas and prepare for the next phase.
The committee also held meetings with representatives of local bodies and civic councils in the context of monitoring the provision of services for civilians in northern Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The head of the Syrian National Commission for the Affairs of Detainees and Missing Persons, Yasser Al-Farhan, said that the Assad regime continues to detain and execute detainees in its prisons. He pointed to new evidence of the Assad regime’s mass execution of those who deny it was detaining, citing the Assad regime’s continued issuance of death notices for detainees who perished in its prisons to the civil registry departments in the Syrian provinces.
Al-Farhan stressed that war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity are taking place against detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime. He pointed out that the Assad regime continues to challenge the reports issued by the International Commission of Inquiry and all international statements about its responsibility for the torture and mass execution of the detainees in its prisons.
“The majority of the UN Security Council resolutions unequivocally condemned the arbitrary detention of civilians, torture, summary executions, and enforced disappearances in Syria. They also called for the immediate cessation of such practices and the release of all arbitrarily detained persons,” Farhan said.
“The showing of disregard for these reports confirms that the regime is avidly seeking to get rid of its opponents, a policy that has already claimed the lives of tens of thousands.”
Farhan added: “This would place greater responsibility on the United Nations to save the lives of the remaining detainees in the prisons of the regime and hold those responsible for such crimes to account.”
Farhan called on the United Nations and international organizations to take urgent, concrete action, including forcing the Assad regime to give international bodies access to detention centers to ascertain the situation of detainees.
Moreover, Farhan stressed the need to enforce the recommendations of the UN Commission of Inquiry to immediately refer the perpetrators of violations against detainees to fair trials; ensure the release of the remining detainees; and prevent further arbitrary detentions in line with the UN resolutions, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN resolution 2254. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition condemned the burning of vital agricultural crops in the Syrian Desert and eastern Syria as it called on the international community to intervene to prevent the spread of fires aimed at starving and worsening the suffering of the Syrian civilians.
In a press release issued on Friday, the Coalition said that the deliberate burning of vital agricultural crops is a criminal, terrorist, reprehensible act as well as part of the war crimes being committed against the Syrian people.
The Coalition called on the international community to provide help in the extinguishing of the fires, especially as they threaten to destroy the most vital crops in Syria.
“The perpetrators of this criminal act know exactly that what they are doing, namely the targeting of all components of the Syrian people; threatening the country's food security; and taking part in the starvation of the Syrian people and increasing their suffering.”
The Coalition noted that the crop fires that have been raging in the Syrian Desert and eastern Syria in recent weeks and the resulting enormous losses may lead to a major economic, humanitarian disaster. The repeated fires and their geographic distribution raise strong suspicions.
“It is imperative, therefore, to launch an urgent investigation and examine the available evidence and listen to the eyewitness accounts.”
Moreover, the Coalition said that it was closely following the situation as it is working on the formation of an independent committee with the participation of the Syrian Interim Government to investigate these fires.
The Coalition stressed that whoever the parties responsible for these fires will not be able to escape punishment. The de facto authority in these areas and its militias bear primary responsibility as they refused Turkish and White Helmets offers for help in the extinguishing of the fires.
“It is a disaster of epic proportions as the burning of thousands of hectares of wheat and barley crops have caused heavy losses. It also raises questions on the goals behind the starvation and impoverishment of the Syrian people.
The international community and donor states need to address this issue seriously by punishing the perpetrators; compensate those affected; and enable them to cope with the disaster.”
The Coalition went on: “It is imperative that the active states realize their responsibilities with regards to the situation in Syria. The chaos and devastation being caused by the Assad regime and its allies, including the de facto authority and the terrorist militias, would not have taken place had the world fulfilled its obligations and assumed its responsibilities towards the maintenance of international peace and security.”
Fires and arson in northeastern Syria have ravaged thousands of hectares of agricultural land with the beginning of the harvest season of the wheat and barley crops. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition said that the Assad regime bears primary responsibility for the tragedy of the Syrian refugees, noting that Syria is "the greatest tragedy of displacement in our present day.”
In a press release marking the World Refugee Day, the Syrian Coalition said the murderous Assad regime has caused an absolute tragedy in Syria, some aspects of which are manifested in the situation of the Syrian refugees who live in extremely tragic conditions as a result of the actions of the Assad regime and having to escape the hell of its bloody tactics.
The Coalition said that despite some international attempts to address this crisis and the generous efforts by the majority of the host countries, the refugee crisis has exposed the failure of the international community to uphold the International Law and to enforce the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions. This failure has had dire consequences for the Syrian conflict and the refugee crisis.
“As the Assad regime’s military escalation continues, the humanitarian situation of the refugees is worsening. Hardships being faced by the Syrian refugees in the host countries are also worsening, especially in Lebanon whose institutions are not showing any respect for the rights of refugees or the international norms and conventions on refugees.”
The Coalition went on to say that IDPs in the regime-held areas are being subjected to various forms of violations and intimidation, such as arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, and torture in accordance with criminal policies based on violence, pillage, and the unlawful appropriation of citizens' property.
Moreover, the Syrian Coalition warned of the grave dangers threatening the Syrian refugees, especially those being forced to return to Syria under various forms of pressure. The forceful return of refugees in the current conditions pose immense risks to their lives.
The Coalition reiterated the need to respect international laws and conventions on the protection of refugees; prevent violations against them; and hold accountable those involved in the incitement of hatred against them and in violating their legitimate rights.
The Coalition demanded that the world honor the enormous sacrifices being made by the Syrian people. It also stresses the need to firmly resist the plans of the regime and its allies who are seeking to create a new humanitarian disaster in northwestern Syria and displace hundreds of thousands of civilians living there. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)