The Syrian National Coalition invited representatives of the injured and people with disabilities to attend the General Assembly's 47th ordinary session which begun on Saturday.
Members of the General Assembly discussed the possibility of the inclusion of representatives of people with disabilities in the Coalition. Participants in the meeting stressed the importance of incorporating this key social component into the Coalition’s political bodies. They noted that the injuries hundreds of thousands of people suffered as a result of the Assad regime’s bombardment and shelling are a clear proof of the regime’s crimes against all components of the Syrian society.
Ahmed Nasro of the Sanad NGO stressed the importance of continued communication and coordination to solve the problems facing the injured and those with disabilities, especially the amputees. He pointed out that people with disabilities have to wait for long periods of time before they get approvals for exit and entry at the border crossings.
Omaima Hamidi of Sanad NGO called for expanding the participation of people with disabilities in the meetings of the Coalition. She pointed to the importance of including the well-being of people with disabilities in the plans being developed by the Coalition and the Syrian Interim Government.
Hamidi called for “our voice to be heard within the political bodies opposed to the Assad regime and to be allowed to participate in the drafting of the constitution with a view to guaranteeing the constitutional rights and ensuring our human rights.”
Firas al-Fawal of the Syrian Organization for People With Disabilities said that people with disabilities are "the most affected after the deceased and detainees" as he called for stepping up support for organizations that are interested in the affairs of this segment of Syrian society.
Al-Fawal warned of ignoring this group, which makes up between 30 and 35 percent of the Syrian society. He attributed this high percentage to the Assad regime's widespread use of internationally prohibited weapons in the bombardment and shelling of populated areas.” Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Commission for Detainees and Missing Persons held a panel discussion on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared. Ex-detainees as well as workers in the field of documentation and defense of the rights of detainees and human rights took part in the discussion.
Chairman of the Commission, Yasser Al-Farhan, talked about the importance of releasing and disclosing the fate of all detainees and the forcibly disappeared people in the prisons of the Assad regime. He pointed out that the Commission is seeking to step up communications with international organizations to "convey the voice of the voiceless."
Farhan stressed that resolving the issue of detainees will be difficult without achieving a full political transition in Syria. He said that the Assad regime have become accustomed to the sight of blood, adding that it will commit more crimes as a career criminal. He cited the enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests taking place in the areas that saw forced “reconciliation” agreements across Syria.
Participants in the discussion listened to testimonies of ex-detainees who spoke about the horrors and inhumane violations taking place in the prisons of the Assad regime, stressing that the issue of the disappeared and detainees is still a priority requiring effective action to ensure their release.
At the end of the discussion, the participants agreed to send letters to the international community including proposals for new mechanisms for redressing victims and preventing impunity as well as stressing the need to disclose the fate of the forcibly disappeared and abdictees in the prisons of the Assad regime.
The letters also demanded the referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court, stressing that accountability is an essential part of the political solution that was spelled out in the international resolutions, especially the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN resolution 2254. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition deplored the “shameful international inaction towards the Assad regime’s crimes and horrific violations of human rights” in a press release issued on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared which falls on August 30.
“Enforced disappearance was a key part of the Assad regime's policy to eliminate the prominent activists, along with killings, forced displacement, detention and torture,” the Coalition said.
The Coalition also said that “the Assad regime has long used enforced disappearance as a means to spread terror and instill fear in the hearts of the Syrian people with the aim of breaking their will and discouraging them from carrying on with the revolution.”
“These actions, including enforced disappearance, affected all vulnerable social groups, especially women, children and the elderly.”
“An estimated 85,000 people have been forcibly disappeared by the Assad regime since the start of the revolution,” the Coalition said, adding that about 400 cases of enforced disappearance were documented in last July alone, including refugees who were detained and forcibly disappeared by the Assad regime after returning to Syria.
“The litany of crimes the Assad regime committed over the past years amounts to the worst and most horrible crimes in our modern era.”
The Coalition went on: “Articles 1, 2 and 5 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance criminalize enforced disappearance as a crime against humanity under international law. They stress that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance.”
Moreover, the Coalition reiterated the need for the UN Security Council to follow up on the enforcement of its relevant resolutions, most importantly resolutions 2042, 2043 and 2139, especially the provisions on enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, and torture of detainees.
“We stress the need for effective states to shoulder their responsibilities with regards to putting an end to these systematic crimes which must be referred to the International Criminal Court and those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria since 2011 be held accountable.” (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Secretary General of the Syrian National Coalition’s political committee, Riyad al-Hassan, on Friday stressed that resuming the political process in Syria is "a step in the right direction." However, he warned of the failure to enforce the provisions of UN resolution 2254 calling for a ceasefire, the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need, and the release of detainees.
Al-Hassan pointed out that the Assad regime and its allies’ continued crimes against civilians in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria will render the political process "meaningless." He added that this process "will reach a deadlock as was the case in the past years in Geneva because of the regime's rejection of any progress towards a political solution and its insistence on pursuing a bloody military solution.”
The Coalition reiterates the calls for the implementation of international resolutions, especially the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN resolution 2254 which stated in its fifth article that it “acknowledges the close linkage between a ceasefire and a parallel political process.”
Al-Hassan went on to say that a ceasefire should enter into force with the launch of the Constitutional Committee which the UN envoy Geir Pedersen said it may convene soon in his briefing to the UN Security Council on Thursday. Such measure will be one the confidence-building measures stipulated in the UN resolution 2254 along with Articles 13 and 14 which called for the delivery of humanitarian aid and the release of detainees.
In his briefing to the UN Security Council, Pederson said that the differences over the launch of the Constitutional Commission has become minimal as he expected the Committee will convene before the end of September.
Pederson also said that an agreement had been reached on the appointment of two joint chairmen for the Committee, with one of them representing the Syrian opposition. He noted that the launch of the Committee must be accompanied by measures that have an impact on the ground, including progress in the issue of detainees and the forcibly disappeared. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition condemned the continued brutal onslaught the Assad regime and its allies have launched against northern rural Hama and various parts of Idlib province for months.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Coalition stressed the need for the world to put an end to the disaster the Assad regime and its allies are inflicting on the Syrian people.
The press release was issued in response to the deadly attack that the Assad regime and Russian forces launched against the town of Maaret al-Numan in rural Idlib late on Wednesday.
“We reiterate once more that military operations by the Assad regime, Russia and Iran constitute blatant war crimes as they mainly target residential areas and civilians,” the Coalition said.
The Coalition reaffirmed that the United Nations and the international community, most notably the group of major actors, are capable and have an obligation to put an immediate end to these attacks and crimes.
The Coalition went on to say that the irresponsible positions of these countries have further complicated the situation. “Those actors have a double responsibility to urgently intervene to stop the ongoing massacres and to take action ensuring freedom for the Syrian people and protection for Syrian civilians.”
The deadly airstrikes killed at least 13 civilians, including six children and two women as well as injured 34 others, including six children and 10 women. The Assad regime and Russian jets fired 12 bombs on the town, local activists said. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian-Turkish Joint Committee on Wednesday convened at the Department of Immigration in Istanbul to look into the situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey and follow up on the resolving of the outstanding issues facing the Syrian nationals in Turkey, especially those living in Istanbul. The participants in the meeting included President of the Syrian National Coalition Anas Al-Abda and Turkish Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Çatakli.
The Committee said it had reviewed all the requests it received through its online forum, adding that the requests are being processed. It called on those having legal issues to send requests to get these issues duly processed.
The Committee stressed the need to register the unregistered Syrian nationals and to settle their legal status as giving them protection against any measure and providing them with stability. The Turkish Interior Ministry stressed the importance of carrying on with the law enforcement and filling the loopholes within the specified deadline.
The Turkish Interior Ministry has instructed all provinces to form sub-committees comprising the local administrations, opinion leaders, Turkish and Syrian civil society organizations, and representatives of the Joint Committee to follow up on the situation of Syrian nationals; solve their problems; and establish a mechanism to manage their affairs. A sub-committee will be formed in each municipality hosting 1,000 or more refugees.
The Turkish Interior Ministry has extended the grace period given to the Syrian refugees in Istanbul to settle their status until October 30th upon a request that was submitted to the Turkish Minister of the Interior on July 24.
As part of the work of the Joint Committee, a group of Syrian refugees were returned to Turkish territory last week. The returnees were part of a list that was submitted to Turkish authorities which said it would look into all similar cases.
The Coalition has launched on its official website a special page to follow up on the affairs of Syrian refugees and residents in Turkey within the framework of the work of the Joint Committee.
The page allows Syrian nationals in Turkey who have certain problems and legal issues to submit their information and documents for reviewing by the Turkish authorities. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition met with Syrian businessmen and business owners in Turkey and discussed with them the major difficulties facing Syrian businessmen and workers with regards to licensing, payment of taxes, and obtaining work permits.
Participants in the meeting stressed the importance of cooperation and coordination to overcome the problems and convey them to the relevant Turkish institutions as well as to find appropriate solutions through the Syrian-Turkish Joint Committee.
Secretary General of the Coalition Abdulbasit Abdullatif said that the meeting came as part of the Coalition's ongoing efforts to ensure that Syrian refugees and residents in Turkey observe the Turkish law. He pointed out that the Coalition is interested in identifying the problems facing the Syrian businessmen, adding that this meeting may come up with proposals leading to solutions in cooperation with the Turkish authorities.
Abdullatif stressed the importance of familiarizing Syrian businessmen and workers in Turkey with the Turkish laws as he emphasized the need to improve the work conditions for Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee Abdulmajid Barakat said that the Syrian business owners are very effective in the Turkish markets, citing the Turkish official figures of the large number of Syrian businesses operating in Turkey.
Barakat added that the Coalition will pass all the problems raised during the meeting to the Turkish Ministry of Labor to work on finding the appropriate solutions. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Coordinator of the National Commission for Detainees and Missing Persons, Yasser Al-Farhan, met with a delegation from the Free Bar Associations and the Syrian Commission for the Release of Detainees in rural Aleppo. Both sides discussed the latest developments regarding the issue of detainees and missing persons in the prisons of the Assad regime and the efforts of Syrian lawyers to regulate the work on human rights in the liberated areas.
Al-Farhan stressed the importance of the role of lawyers and rights activists in the revolutionary and national work as having significant impact on ensuring justice for victims and accountability.
Al-Farhan pointed to the need for coordination with regards to the issue of detainees and missing persons and for the mobilization of international pressure capable of forcing the regime to release detainees and disclose the fate of the missing. He said that an agreement was reached to hold a meeting or workshop in the liberated areas with all representatives of lawyers syndicates and specialists working on the issue of detainees. The meeting will seek to form a working group for detainees and missing persons.
“The Coalition is keen on utilizing the expertise of bodies and organizations working on the issue of detainees and missing persons,” Al-Farhan said. He added that National Commission for Detainees and Missing Persons does not compete with anyone as it has a noble goal. He added that the Commission seeks to help the relevant institutions and bodies make their voices heard by the international community and organizations.
The participants also discussed the situation of legal activity in the liberated areas and proposals for the formation of branches of the bar associations across the liberated areas. They also discussed the important results in the unification of the bar associations.
The participants reviewed an amended draft law regulating the legal activity as they stressed the independence of the Free Bar Association. They pointed to preparations to hold a general conference of the Free Bar Association with all its branches. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Hadi al-Bahra, member of the Syrian National Coalition’s political committee, stressed that pursuing a military solution “is an illusion that the regime and its backers need to give up.” He stressed that any solution must be accepted by the Syrian people.
In an interview with Zeitoun media outlet, Al-Bahra pointed to the need to reinvigorate the UN-led political process in Geneva after the establishment of a ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to the IDPs. He underscored that there is no alternative to a political solution in the framework of the Geneva process being facilitated by the United Nations to implement UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Al-Bahra said that the Syrian people are still able to influence the military and political courses, noting that the rebel fighters succeeded in delivering several messages, the most important of which is that they still have the will to hold their ground and defend themselves and their people.
Moreover, Al-Bahra held the Security Council directly responsible for the safety and protection of civilians in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria. He pointed out that the UN Security Council approved the memorandums of understanding that were supposed to secure safe areas for civilians refusing to remain in the regime-held areas.
Rebel fighters in Idlib "are sacrificing their lives in the face of the world’s second largest military force and the sectarian militias that came from different countries as well as the military experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps whom he described as a “source of international terrorism.”
Al-Bahra pointed out that the main task of the Coalition is to ensure the continuation of the revolution until the aspirations of the Syrian people are met. He noted that the Coalition currently prioritizes the stepping up of contacts with all states to make a serious push towards a ceasefire and ensuring protection for Syrian civilians as well as meeting the needs of the people being displaced from the areas being targeted by the “aggressive” ongoing military campaign.
Al-Bahra said that if the attacks on the liberated areas continued beyond the M4 and M5 highways, the rebel fighters would have no choice but to defend their families and hold their ground. He pointed out that this requires a different military strategy for both defense and attack.
Al-Bahra said that our struggle with the regime aims to regain our legitimate, human, constitutional, political and legal rights through a genuine, comprehensive political transition. He pointed out that the regime and its backers have the ability to destroy, but they do not have the ability to achieve security, justice, stability and peace. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition’s political committee and coordinators of the Coalition’s offices on Friday met with representatives of local bodies and councils in the Coalition’s office in rural Aleppo. Both sides discussed the latest developments in rural Hama and Idlib as well as the barbaric military campaign being launched by the Assad and Russian and Iranian forces.
The discussions included the Coalition's diplomatic and political efforts to bring an end to the Assad regime’s onslaught on northwestern Syria. Both sides also discussed the tragedy being experienced by the people of Idlib and rural Hama and the dire conditions facing civilians who were forced by the ruthless shelling and systematic destruction to flee once again. Participants in the meeting called on the international humanitarian organizations to provide the necessary support for civilians who are staying out in the open.
During its meeting with representatives of the northeastern region, the political committee gave an overview of the arrangements for the establishment of a safe zone east of the Euphrates River. It listened to suggestions and proposals of the representatives of rural Hama and Idlib province. It also met with the Rural Damascus Provisional Council, the Free Bar Association, the Commission for the Release of Detainees, and the General Commission of the Eastern Region, Jarablus Sector.
The political committee highlighted the current situation in the ‘de-escalation zone,’ especially the bombings, destruction and mass displacement of the civilian population. The committee also gave an overview of the latest developments in the political process and the future of the east of the Euphrates River. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)