The Syrian Coalition’s political committee held consultations with a number of experts on the Turkish affairs and Syrian rights activists to discuss the situation of the Syrian refugees and residents in Turkey.
The discussions were focused on the latest developments in the issue of the Syrian refugees in Istanbul. The Coalition’s legal committee gave an overview of the legal status of the Syrian refugees and residents in Turkey under the Refugee Convention of 1951 as well as under the Turkish Temporary Protection Act of 2016 which the Turkish government issued to address the issue of Syrian refugees.
Participants in the meeting put forward suggestions to solve the problems of the Syrian refugees in Turkey so as to ease the tension inside the Turkish community, stressing the bonds of friendship and fraternity between the Syrian and Turkish peoples and the historical relationship between the two countries.
President of the Syrian Coalition, Anas al-Abda, said that he had recently communicated with several Turkish officials to discuss the latest measures against the Syrian refugees in Istanbul.
Al-Abda pointed out that the Coalition is currently arranging a meeting with the Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, adding that he will put forth important recommendations to solve the problems of the Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Al-Abda thanked Turkey for bearing the onerous burden of hosting the largest percentage of Syrian refugees in its territory over the past several years. He stressed the importance of abiding by the Turkish laws and showing respect for the customs and traditions of the Turkish society.
Moreover, Al-Abda called for stopping the deportation of Syrian refugees who do not have a temporary protection identity card. He urged the Turkish authorities to give Syrian refugees who does not meet the latest rules a period of at least three months to settle their status in accordance with the relevant Turkish laws.
Al-Abda also pointed to the importance of facilitating the granting of work permits to the Syrian refugees and allowing Syrian households who have ID cards issued in other provinces to settle their status. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition’s Department of External Relations meet with a delegation from the British Foreign Office in Istanbul on Tuesday and discussed with them the latest political and on the ground developments in Syria, especially the atrocities taking place in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria.
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition, Dima Moussa, said that the onslaught the Assad regime and Russia have unleashed against Idlib province since April has resulted in yet new war crimes about which the international community should not remain silent. She called on the United Kingdom to work on bringing an end to this onslaught and shoulder its legal and moral responsibilities with regards to the protection of civilians.
Moussa pointed out that the humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating because of the Assad regime and Russia’s deliberate targeting of civilians, public facilities and medical centers. She pointed out that these crimes amounted to international crimes as they are primarily aimed at perpetuating the killings and undermining efforts to resume the political process.
Moussa called for the resumption of support for the humanitarian sector in Idlib province, especially in the area of healthcare. She noted that the Assad regime and Russia’s targeting of public facilities and medical centers is aimed at killing any semblance of life and forcing civilians to surrender and flee their homes.
“This option is no longer available as this region is the last resort for Syrian civilians who were displaced from other parts of Syria, especially the areas that saw forced settlement agreenents under which millions of Syrian civilians were displaced to Syria’s northwest for fear of detention, torture and enforced disappearance,” Moussa said.
Both sides also discussed the Syrian Interim Government's (SIG) plan of action. Moussa said that SIG’s priority on the short term is to provide security, stability and basic services to civilians so as to serve as a model for the Coalition’s executive arm and expand its work to include other areas once the appropriate conditions are met. She stressed that the Coalition is in need for support to enable SIG to operate across all the liberated areas and to provide better services for the civilian population in those areas.
Moussa pointed out that SIG’s Head-designate Abdurrahman Mustafa continues to hold consultations with various civil and local bodies and organizations with the aim of outlining SIG’s vision and plan of action for the next phase. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition stressed that Assad regime and Russia’s escalating crimes in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria are not only war crimes but amount to international crimes with international, criminal repercussions.
In a press release issued on Monday, the Coalition said that these crimes do not serve a purely military purpose, adding that the targeting and killing of civilians is the main objective of the Russia and the Assad regime military operations, which turns the nature of these crimes into international crimes with criminal, international repercussions.
The Assad regime and Russian forces stepped up the hysterical bombardment on rural Hama and Idlib provinces in the past few hours. At least 50 people were killed by Russian airstrikes and barrel bombing by the regime helicopters in the past few hours.
The initial death toll indicated that no fewer than 20 people, including women and children, were killed in airstrikes by the Russian occupation forces on a crowded market in the town of Maaret al-Nu'man on Monday morning.
“Over the past few hours, towns and villages in the provinces of Hama and Idlib have been subjected to brutal shelling. The death toll continues to rise and includes civil defense volunteers and first responders,” the Coalition said.
These victims are not mere numbers; they have names, families, and friends. They were cherishing the hope that they will see and end to this war. They once had ambitions to contribute to the reconstruction of their homeland and achieve their dreams, just like hundreds of thousands of the people who were killed during the course of the Syrian revolution.
“It is clear that the Assad regime and its allies will insist on pursuing their policies in view of their tyrannical, dictatorial and oppressive nature. They cannot even consider alternative options other than mass murder.”
The Coalition added: “It is imperative, therefore, that the international community shoulder its responsibility with regards to the ongoing atrocious crimes aimed at undermining efforts to resume the political process.”
The Coalition reaffirmed that the United Nations and the international community, especially the main stakeholders, are capable of and have an obligation to put an end to these crimes, most notably the mass killings and forced displacement of innocent civilians and to reinvigorate the political process in accordance with international resolutions. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian Coalition Anas al-Abda met with Turkey-based Syrian Kurdish activists and discussed with them the latest political and on the ground developments. The meeting was organized by the Kurdish National Council, a component of the Coalition, with the aim of strengthening the bonds of the relationship and exchanging views on the appropriate plans and positions to address the upcoming challenges.
At the beginning of the meeting, al-Abda stressed the need to strengthen the relations among the components of the Syrian society. He said that the relationship between the Coalition and the Kurdish National Council is a strategic alliance within a unified Syrian land and people. He pointed out that Syria cannot be a state based on freedom and justice without the participation of all its sons and daughters and without guaranteeing their rights.
Al-Abda stressed that the agreement between the Coalition and the Kurdish National Council is a significant progress in the views of the forces of opposition to the rest of the spectra of the Syrian society. He said he was looking forward to strengthening this strategic relationship for the benefit of Syria, stressing the importance of the development of this relationship to lay the groundwork of real partnership in Syria.
Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Basit Abdul Latif, hailed the meeting with the Syrian community in Istanbul, especially with the people of the Syrian al-Jazeera region. He recalled the honorable positions of the leadership of the Kurdish National Council in the first days of the Syrian revolution, most notably those of the late Mesha’al Tammu. He stressed that the Kurds are an essential component of the Syrian social fabric.
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Abdulhakim Bashar underscored the importance of mutual understanding among the Syrian people and of building a clearly defined, real strategy. He also pointed to the importance of the Syrian Kurds to realize that their destination should be inside Syria side by side with their Syrian brothers and not outside the borders of Syria as in the case with the PYD militia. He stressed that the political positions are changeable unlike the geography which is constant.
Moreover, Bashar said that we and the Arabs and the rest of the Syrian components are partners in the homeland as were looking for the best formula to strengthen this partnership. He added that it is in the interest of the Kurds to build the best relationship with the partners in the country, noting that without partnership with all Syrians we will move towards political suicide which some certain parties are seeking to impose on the Kurds. “On the contrary, we have to work to build the best relationship with our partners in the homeland.”
Bashar said that it is not in the interest of the Kurds to show hostility towards the neighbors both at home and abroad or to create problems with Turkey. It is also not in the interest of the Kurds to provoke Ankara, he said, adding that good relationships with other Syrian components and with Turkey is in the interest of the Kurds now and in the future. He stressed that the number one enemy to the Syrian Kurds is in Damascus, not in Turkey, calling for maintaining the good relations with the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
With regards to Afrin, Bashar said that this issue “cannot be addressed through the exchange of accusations on social media, but through dealing with the Turkish government and the Syrian Coalition.” He warned of attempts by some parties to exploit violations to serve external agendas only.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee Abdullah Sarhan Kaddo called for working realistically away from romanticism and political idealism. He also called for working together to achieve the goals for which the Syrian people have risen up, namely freedom, dignity, justice and democracy.
Kaddo urged activists and the youth to stay away from provocations which only serve the Assad regime, reminding the people of Kobani, Qamishli and Afrin that they should not promote slogans or signs against another country. He also advised against believing those who promote utopian slogans and to work with political realism, adding that their cause and that of the Syrian people in general are inside Syria and not anywhere else. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Secretary of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee, Riad al-Hassan, welcomed Argentina's designation of Hezbollah a terrorist organization. He said that tightening the international noose on Hezbollah and cutting off its arms everywhere in the world would deter it and Iran from committing more crimes and reduce their threat to the security and stability of the region, especially Syria.
Al-Hassan said that the announcement by the Argentine authorities to freeze the assets of Hezbollah and designate it a terrorist organization confirmed that this terrorist militia constituted a threat to international peace and security. He called on other countries to follow suit in order to dry up the party's economic resources.
Al-Hassan said that this decision, which would end Hezbollah's financial activities in the border area between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, would deepen the party’s financial hardships, especially in light of the economic embargo imposed by the United States on Iran, the main backer of terrorist militias in the region.
“We expect to see a decline in the operations of the party and its activities in the coming days, which will reflect negatively on the terrorist project being carried out by the party and Iran.”
Al-Hassan expressed the hope that the Argentine move will be the first step to curb the economic and financial activities of Hezbollah across several continents, including Africa, Latin America and Asia. He pointed out that the majority of the party's activities are criminal, including money laundering and drug trafficking.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri told the CNN Spanish that he was taking steps to brand Hezbollah a terrorist organization and freeze its assets. The nation's Financial Information Unit took the action a day after Macri's government created a list of terrorist organizations to help coordinate actions with other nations.
“At the present time, Hezbollah continues to represent a current and active threat to national security and the integrity of the financial, economic order of the Argentine Republic," the Unit said.
The US Treasury earlier announced it was imposing sanctions on two Hezbollah MPs and a security official. It also closed down the bank accounts of Lebanese individuals who transferred money to the party, especially businessmen in North Africa who supported Hezbollah. In 2011, a Lebanese bank was closed in Canada for involvement in money laundering for Hezbollah. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Okab Yahya, said that Russia is trying to achieve military victory by throwing its troops into the battlefield in Syria after the Assad regime failed to achieve the objectives of the ongoing military campaign in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northern Syria.
Yahya said that Moscow is hastily seeking to finish the fierce battles in northwestern Syria before returning to the political process which the UN envoy Geir Pederson announced will be resumed in the next few days.
Russia is once again seeking to impose a new reality on the ground and subjecting the international community to its demands by acquiring new pressure cards. These cards are today represented in attempts to capture new areas in northern Syria and placing them under the control of the Assad regime.
Yahya said that Moscow has only one option: murder, destruction, more crimes against civilians, and the targeting of residential areas and civilian facilities as well as civil defense centers and medical facilities. These acts ended any semblance of life with the aim of forcing the civilian population to flee, Yahya added.
Moscow's denial of the deployment of ground troops in the ongoing battles in northwestern Syria indicated that it was not certain of victory and afraid that its forces may be defeated by the Free Syrian Army.
Since the beginning of their military campaign in northwestern Syria, the Assad regime and Russian forces have so far failed to achieve significant progress in the face of the FSA fighters, which is contrary to Russian expectations.
Reuters quoted Naji Mustafa, spokesman for the National Liberation Front (NLF) as saying that Russia has not only failed but has been defeated. Jamil al-Salih, commander of the FSA al-Izza Army, said that the Assad regime found itself in trouble so it asked for the deployment of Russian ground forces. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Designate-head of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) Abdurrahman Mustafa participated in the opening of a grain mill in the town of Ayn al-Baida in the Jarablus region in northern rural Aleppo. Heads of the local councils in northern rural Aleppo and the Governor of Aleppo, Abdel Moneim al-Mustafa also participated in the opening ceremony.
The mill is designed to meet the needs of the residents of four major towns in northern rural Aleppo, which are Jarablus, al-Bab, al-Raie, and Qabbasin.
The local council in Jarablus published photos of the opening ceremony as it said that the mill had already begun producing flour with a capacity of up to 45 tons every day.
The council pointed out that the Ain Al-Baida Mill belongs to the Branch of Grain in Aleppo province, which is part of the plan of action of SIG’s Ministry of Finance and Economy, noting that the mill is one of the most important projects in the region.
According to the Grain Institution, the mill was built with an estimated cost of 500,000 euros which were provided by the Syria Recovery Trust Fund (SRTF), a multi-donor trust fund initiated by the Group of Friends of the Syrian People and its Working Group on Economic Recovery and Development to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people affected by the ongoing conflict.
With the opening of the mill, the purchases of grain by the Grain Institution is expected to reach a new record level of up to 15,000 tons in 2019, up from 9,000 tons in 2018. The move will reflect positively on the prices of bread in the region.
The move came as Abdurrahman Mustafa continues to hold consultations about the formation of a new SIG cabinet that will be submitted to the Syrian Coalition’s General Assembly for approval at the end of this month.
Mustafa held several meetings in different areas of northern rural Aleppo, including with representatives of provincial councils and local councils as well as representatives of committees and civil society organizations operating in the liberated areas. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition’s Department of the Refugee Affairs held a workshop to discuss the situation of the Syrian refugees in the Turkish city of Istanbul and to propose a plan of action for the next phase.
The workshop brought together activists of the revolutionary movement, journalists and legal experts as well as representatives of civil society organizations active in development and members of the Coalition’s political committee.
The workshop included an overview and discussion of the problems faced by the Syrian refugees in Istanbul. The participants also discussed the possible opportunities and initiatives to reduce the tensions resulting from this issue.
Head of the Department of the Refugee Affairs, Amal Sheikho, said that opportunities still exist to correct the mistakes and strengthen the bonds of friendship between the Syrian and Turkish peoples. She stressed the importance of detecting rumors and refuting them, noting that the Assad supporters are behind the majority of these rumors.
Sheikho pointed out that the Assad regime sent people to do shameful and shocking acts in Turkey with the aim of tarnishing the image of the Syrian refugees and destabilizing Turkey.
Sheikho explained that the Coalition will continue to pay attention to the situation of the Syrian refugees in Turkey by holding periodic meetings to put forth ideas and suggestions as well as by organizing social activities to bridge the gap and reduce the tensions. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition said that the Assad regime and Russia’s continued crimes against the Syrian people are aimed at undermining efforts to resume the political process. It reiterated calls on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities with regards to protecting civilians and stopping military operations.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Coalition condemned the crimes being committed by the Assad regime and Russia as part of the ongoing bombing campaign in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria. It described these as "blatant crimes" deliberately targeting civilians in public places.
“The Assad regime continues to commit crimes against civilians despite all the warnings we have repeatedly issued to the international community. The Assad regime and its backers will continue to commit the most heinous crimes until the international community assumes its responsibilities.”
The Coalition said that the massacres against civilians occurred in residential places, public markets and medical facilities, pointing out that the bombing also caused massive damage and fires to civilian homes and shops.
Moreover, the Coalition said that the international community bears primary responsibility for these crimes.
“The international community, which continues with its indifference and inaction, is to blame for the brutality of the regime which is exploiting what it sees an international green light to carry on with the murder, destruction and criminality.”
These attacks, crimes and bloody attacks are clearly aimed at undermining the efforts of the UN envoy to resume the political process. The Syrian people, meanwhile, see the silence of the international community and the sponsors of the political solution about these crimes as amounting to partnership in the aggression against them. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Abdurrahman Mustafa, the designate-head of the Syrian Interim Government, is continuing to hold consultations as he met with representatives of provincial councils and local councils as well as representatives of committees and civil society organizations operating in the liberated areas.
Mustafa participated in a ceremony honoring the local councils and directorates operating in the town of Azaz in northern rural Aleppo. He stressed the importance of coordination among all parties to improve the conditions in the liberated areas and provide better services to the civilian population, including those who were forcibly displaced by the Assad regime.
“I believe that the coordination of work, close communication, exchange of experiences and confidence-building are key to the effective management of the liberated areas,” Mustafa said.
Mustafa outlined SIG’s plan of action for the next phase as he listened to the most pressing needs of the local councils and SIG’s directorates. He stressed the need for SIG staff to step up efforts in all sectors to establish bodies and institutions linked to a unified administrative system to replace the state institutions.
Mustafa added: “The challenges are great. We are on the threshold of a new phase that needs development and construction. My vision is to continue down the road and build on what has been already achieved and address the shortcomings. My program aims to set up good governance.”
Moreover, Mustafa pointed out that the new SIG will prioritize the ensuring security, stability and provision of services, in addition to improving the economic conditions and the creation of jobs.
“SIG will draw up an emergency plan for the management of the liberated areas,” Mustafa said. “We must be prepared to shoulder our responsibilities in this regard.”
Mustafa also stressed that SIG will work to make use of the competent people and cadres in the liberated areas and rely on them to activate SIG work. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)