Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr al-Hariri, on Monday held a press conference to talk about the Constitutional Committee announced recently by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the latest developments in Idlib and the war crimes being committed by the Assad regime and its backers.
Al-Hariri reviewed the UN resolution 2254 and the article on drafting a new constitution for the country. He also touched on the rules of procedure that determine the mechanism of work of the Committee as he explained that the Committee includes two small commissions and that the articles will be approved by consensus or through a vote. An article must get 75 percent of the votes to be approved, he said, adding that the Committee will have co-chairs guaranteeing the primary role of the United Nations in facilitating the work of the Committee in Geneva.
Al-Hariri pointed out that it is the task of the Constitutional Committee to determine the mechanism for popular consensus and the way to legalize or activate the Constitution, adding that no party has the right to manipulate it.
Moreover, Al-Hariri went on to say that the Commission is still within “the framework of the negotiating process and we have not yet reached the stage of implementation.” He stressed the need to abide by the logical sequence set out in the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Resolution 2254. “We cannot hold elections before drafting a Constitution or conduct elections and the Constitution under the current regime.”
Al-Hariri stressed that the Constitutional Committee is "a gateway or entrance and is not enough to implement UN resolution 2254 in full. We must go to the implementation of the rest of the provisions laid out in the resolution," he said, stressing the importance of adhering to the six-month timetable outlined in UN resolution 2254 with regard to the work of the Constitutional Committee.
He added that the formation of the Constitutional Committee is a positive progress and an opportunity to launch direct negotiations. However, he expressed fears that the regime will continue to try to procrastinate and use the Committee as a card to attract reconstruction funds or send the refugees to unsafe areas.
Al-Hariri called on the international community to continue to show cooperation and put pressure on the regime to bring it to the negotiating table in order to reach a political solution in accordance with international resolutions. He called for confronting all attempts to obstruct as he stressed that “diluting the issue will make it void of any meaning.”
Al-Hariri pointed out that the Syrian Negotiations Commission has made extensive preparations with regard to the Transitional Governing Body (TGB) and the safe, neutral environment essential for the referendum and the safe return of refugees.
A real political solution in Syria depends on three main steps: the safe and neutral environment related to the arrangements for TGB, the drafting of a new constitution, and the holding of free, fair elections under the supervision of the United Nations.
He pointed out that work is underway to activate the issue of detainees as he expressed the hope that a large number of detainees will be released in parallel with the launch of the work of the Constitutional Committee as a motivating factor to gain the confidence of the Syrian people. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Syrian National Coalition - Syria
Department of Media and Communications
September 30, 2019
The Russian option in favor of the Assad regime and in the face of the aspirations and rights of the Syrian people has been a clear option since the beginning of the Syrian Revolution. Russia’s political stances and its direct military intervention were not only a form of support for the regime, but a major element in escalating the situation on the ground as it led to unprecedented level of escalation, criminality and displacement.
Reports by rights groups gave detailed figures of the results of this intervention since day one. According to these reports, the Russian occupation is responsible for the destruction of at least 201 schools, 190 medical centers, and the targeting of 56 popular markets. These attacks claimed the lives of at least 6,686 people, including 1,928 children and 808 women as well as displaced 3.3 million people out of their homes. The real figures could be much higher.
The Russian aggression is responsible, directly or indirectly, for Assad's crimes as Russia has been trying to cover up these crimes; propping up the regime, and providing it with political, diplomatic and military support. Furthermore, Russia used the veto 13 times to shield the regime and prevent any international action against it.
Despite all what these reports revealed and what the documents confirmed, they will not be able to document the real toll of this criminal intervention that has disrupted the project of popular democratic change in Syria for years. This intervention also led to diverting the events in the country and the entire Arab region as well as impeded the task of construction and development for many years.
The Russian aggression has further complicated efforts to reach a political solution in Syria and caused a massive military escalation that served the terror of the regime, Iran and their militias.
The Syrian people are well aware that the crimes being perpetrated by the Kremlin in Syria has nothing to do with the honorable people of Russia who are making immense sacrifices for the sake of freedom of their homeland. They have been living for decades under an authoritarian regime that assassinates political dissidents, cracks down on freedoms, devotes the country's resources to influential oligarchs, and uses Russia's resources to prop up authoritarian regimes around the world.
The Syrian National Coalition reiterates that the international community is responsible and obliged to find appropriate mechanisms to put an end to the subversive Russian and Iranian roles in the region, including moving more effectively and using more influential tools in dealing with the aggressors.
We affirm that any serious effort to put an end to the catastrophe unfolding on the ground must begin with the adoption of binding resolutions that ensure and end to the bloodshed and open the door to a political solution based on UN Security Council resolution 2254, including the full implementation of the Geneva Communique of 2012.
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The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) issued a special report on the crimes committed by Russian forces since the beginning of the Russian aggression on Syria four years ago, indicating that the Russian forces mainly targeted civilian facilities and healthcare centers.
The Network said that a total of 6,686 civilians, including 808 women and 1,928 children, have been killed in attacks by the Russian forces since September 30, 2015.
The report noted that 3,734 Syrian civilians were killed in the first year, 1,457 in the second, 958 in the third, and 447 others in the fourth.
The monitoring group pointed out that Russian airstrikes targeted civilian areas in more than 1,083 occasions, destroying 201 schools, 190 healthcare centers, and 56 popular markets. Moreover, the Russian and regime attacks displaced 3.3 million people from their homes in the reporting period.
The Network said that it recorded no fewer than 335 massacres that Russian forces committed in Syria in the past four years. It pointed out the Russian support helped regime forces took control of several positions in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in southern rural Idlib.
The report indicated that the result of the Russian direct military intervention became evident in late 2016 with the regime's capture of eastern Aleppo, the Damascus suburbs, northern rural Homs, Dara’a and Quneitra. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Officials of the Syrian National Coalition met with the Commission for People Displaced from Deir Ezzor province in the town of Azaz in northern rural Aleppo. They reviewed the situation of IDPs in northwestern Syria as they gave a detailed overview of the Syrian Interim Government's plans to meet the needs of civilians in the liberated areas.
The meeting brought together the Coalition’s Secretary General Abdul Basit Abdul Latif, Secretary of the political committee Riad Al-Hassan, and member of the political committee Salem Al-Muslet. They briefed the meeting on the efforts being made to achieve a real political transition in Syria that will ensure the voluntary, safe return of refugees and IDPs to their places of origin.
The two sides discussed the latest developments related to Idlib, the announcement of the formation of the Constitutional Committee, and the safe zone east of the Euphrates.
Meanwhile, members of the Commission for People Displaced from Deir Ezzor talked about Iran's attempts to impose its religious curriculum on the region and change its demographic landscape in preparation to impose its religious, cultural and social control like what happened in southern Lebanon.
They spoke of the marginalization they suffer, the dire conditions they live in, and their daily humanitarian needs. They called on the Coalition, the Syrian Interim Government, and international organizations to meet these needs.
They also talked about the problems resulting from the years-long interruption of education and the need to develop programs with the UNESCO to allow the dropouts to return to school. They also stressed the need for intensive courses and ways to ensure recognition for these certificates to enable students to pursue university education and then qualify them to enter the labor market according to the competencies and certificates they have.
With regards to the area of healthcare, members of the Commission talked about the risks to children, especially malnutrition, and called for the intervention of UNICEF to address this issue.
The Commission’s specialists in the industry and trade sectors talked about the need to establish a trade union for workers in this sector and to provide the means to empower them it in terms of production requirements, opening the doors for export, issuing certificates of origin, among other things.
Participants in the meeting also agreed on the need for the people of Deir Ezzor to reorganize themselves in the institutions, unions and bodies that guarantee their rights and allow them to effectively participate in SIG’s ministries and directorates. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The foreign ministers of seven Western and Arab states said that they “deeply regret that the Security Council has failed once again to unite in calling for the protection of civilians,” stressing that the use of chemical weapons “shall not be tolerated.”
The remarks came in a joint statement issued by the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, and United States at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings.
The statement called for “an immediate and genuine ceasefire in Idlib,” reiterating that there can be no military solution to the Syria crisis, only a political settlement.”
“We therefore strongly support the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria in his efforts towards a political settlement in line with Security Council Resolution 2254.”
The statement stressed that the “use of any chemical weapons in Syria shall not be tolerated,” demanding that all parties “comply with their obligations under international law.”
The statement stressed the importance of accountability in any efforts to bring about a sustainable, inclusive and peaceful solution to the conflict. It pledged continued support for the efforts to ensure that all perpetrators of abuses and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law are identified and held accountable.
Meanwhile, the US special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey told Al-Arabiya TV that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in attacks in Syria, adding that the US response could take various forms including military or diplomatic measures, or economic sanctions.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US intelligence has determined that the Assad regime had used chlorine as a chemical weapon on May 19 in its onslaught to recapture Idlib, adding that the Trump administration will not let it go "unchallenged."
The attack is just the latest atrocity the Assad's regime committed in Syria's eight-and-a-half-year old war, many of which amount to "war crimes and crimes against humanity," Pompeo said Friday. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition welcomed the remarks of US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on the Assad regime's record of violations, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crimes of using chemical weapons.
In a press release issued on Friday, the Coalition said that the US administration's showing of interest in following up on violations and crimes the Assad regime is committing in Syria as well as verifying its details and reminding the international community about them is very important.
“The international community should realize the gravity of these crimes, especially the lack of international accountability,” the Coalition stressed.
The Coalition went on to say that the US administration's announcement that it was ready to do everything possible to ensure that the Assad regime would not use chemical weapons again is an important step, especially if accompanied by clear practical measures.
The Coalition added: “The only way to stop this regime from using chemical weapons is to remove it from power and hold it accountable for the crimes it is committing.”
“The ongoing war crimes against Syrian civilians emphasize the need for the international community to take urgent political and legal initiatives and steps ensuring an end to war crimes and crimes against humanity and working to refer the situation in Syria, including the crime of using chemical weapons, to the International Criminal Court to hold the regime accountable.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian National Coalition, Anas Al Abda, Secretary General Abdul Basit Abdul Latif, Head of the Syrian Interim Government Abdurrahman Mustafa, and members of the political committee visited the Presidency of the Syrian Tribal Council in the Turkish city of Urfa and the Syrian Tribal Office in the town of Azaz in northern rural Aleppo. They met the Council's Head Rami Al-Doush and members of the Presidential Commission as well as dignitaries from Syrian tribes.
The two sides discussed important issues at the field and political levels, stressing the importance of restoring stability in the liberated areas, including in east of the Euphrates through the establishment of civil administration and the provision of the essential services to the population.
President Al-Abda briefed the meeting on the latest field developments in Idlib and the regime’s crimes there as well as on the political developments, especially the announcement of the formation of the Constitutional Committee.
President Al-Abda stressed the vital role of the Tribal Council in the safe zone east of the Euphrates as well as in "maintaining the social fabric and Syria’s unity.”
The Council reaffirmed support for the Coalition as the legitimate umbrella of the Syrian Revolution and the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. They also reaffirmed their complete support and cooperation with the Syrian Interim Government as they stressed the need for it to be deployment across all the liberated areas. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition’s political committee met with the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) on Friday. The meeting was chaired by President of the Coalition, Anas Al Abda, and SIG’s Head Abdurrahman Mustafa.
The meeting came about one month after Mustafa announced the formation of his cabinet. SIG ministers gave overviews of their plans of action after checking on the situation of institutions on the ground and the needs of the population in the liberated areas.
Mustafa said that there is a lot of work to be done to reach good governance in line with SIG’s vision. He pointed out that the major challenge is the improvement of security and stability, adding that Syrians are “great people and all they need is a safe, appropriate environment to completely change the reality of the situation in the liberated areas.”
For his part, President Al-Abda gave a brief on the latest developments in the political process, stressing that the Coalition members strongly believe that the Assad regime and its sponsors will not abide by international resolutions and agreements calling for a ceasefire.
President Al-Abda pointed out that the forces of the revolution are required to develop alternatives to ensure the continued resilience of the Syrian people to regain their freedom and dignity. He instructed SIG’s ministers to improve the reality of the situation in the liberated areas and improve services being provided to civilians so as to provide an alternative model of management for the Assad regime and its corrupt institutions. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian National Coalition Anas al-Abda, met with the leaders of the corpses of the Syrian National Army and commanders of brigades in the town of Azaz in northern rural Aleppo. They discussed the need to complete the establishment of a national army comprising all the armed opposition groups with the aim of defending the liberated areas and improving security and stability.
President al-Abda pointed out that "there are mahor challenges lying ahead," stressing the need to beat off those challenges as steadfastness is "crucial to the victory of the Syrian revolution."
Moreover, President al-Abda stressed the need for the success of forces of the revolution, including the political, civil and military institutions, to secure the needs of civilians in the liberated areas as well as paying attention to the situation of refugees in neighboring countries, pointing out that these account for more than half of the Syrian people.
He also stressed the importance of the success of the Syrian Interim Government in establishing good governance in the liberated areas and gaining legitimacy by holding free, fair elections in the liberated areas.
Commander of the First Corps Colonel Moataz Raslan said that the formation of a professional national army is a top priority, adding that this is a joint action between the military and political forces.
Commander of the Second Corps Mahmoud al-Baz pointed out that work is underway to unify the armed groups into one army under the banner of the Coalition’s political leadership, pointing out that 750 fighters are trained by the Syrian National Army every month.
Commander of the Third Corps Abu Ahmad Noor stressed that the completion of the formation of the national army is the real guarantee to improve security and stability in the liberated areas, stressing the importance of unifying efforts to confront the enemies of the Syrian revolution. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), Abdurrahman Mustafa, held an important meeting with representatives of donor countries and the Syria Recovery Trust Fund (SRTF) in the Turkish city of Gaziantep.
The meeting brought together representatives from the United States, the European Union and other countries. SIG’s ministers put forward their short-term and long-term plans, the strategy of each ministry to achieve its goals, and the challenges facing their work.
Mustafa called for increasing coordination and cooperation, stressing the need for complementarity in the relationship between the Syrian National Coalition, SIG, the Assistance Coordination Unit, and SRTF.
Mustafa said that SIG adopted a strategy of action focused on providing a decent life and a safe environment for civilians living in the liberated areas as well as on enabling them to live their lives normally after years of suffering at the hands of the Assad regime.
He pointed out that SIG is seeking recovery from the phase of destruction through the removal of rubble of destroyed buildings, ensuring the safety of sites, clearance these sites of mines and UXOs, and the restoration of infrastructure and public services to enable displaced people to return to their areas of origin.
Mustafa pointed out that SIG’s top priority is the improvement of security through the Ministry of Interior’s police force and the Ministry of Defense’s military police. He stressed the initiation of law enforcement in the liberated areas to achieve justice through the activation of law courts and an independent judiciary through the Ministry of Justice and the Judiciary, which is supervised by the Judicial Supreme Council.
Mustafa also said that SIG also focuses on the empowerment of local communities to develop their economies and resources. He stressed the importance of beginning with productive projects so as to ensure the sustainability of their resources and achieve integration and cooperation among local communities.
He also underscored the importance of strengthening the capacities and capabilities of local councils in the areas of management; achieving sustainable development plans; promoting standards of transparency, and activating the role and participation of women in all parts and structures of SIG’s institutions. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)