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)
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 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)
Minister of Finance and Economy of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) Abdel-Hakim Al-Masri met with the Director of Customs and Managers of Border Crossing at Bab Al-Salamah Border Crossing as they discussed the Ministry’s plan of action and the role of border crossings in providing SIG with financial resources.
Al-Masri stressed the need for careful searching of vehicles so as to maintain good relations with neighboring countries. He also stressed the fair treatment of civilians wishing to enter and exit through the border crossings and referring back the Ministry to solve the problems facing the management of crossings.
Al-Masri also stressed the importance of investing in the agricultural sector; supporting farmers; and opening the door for exporting the surplus products.
He pointed out that there is a plan and a mechanism to repair public roads through investment by traders for a limited period of time.
He also stressed the importance of boycotting the Iranian and Russian goods and demanded that these goods are not allowed to pass through the border crossings.
Participants put forward proposals to improve the work system and develop the reality of the Syrian crossings so as to provide the best services to the population. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The National Commission for Detainees and Missing Persons held a workshop in the town of Azaz in northern rural Aleppo to discuss ways to coordinate the efforts to address the issue of detainees and missing persons.
Participants in the workshop agreed on the formation of an advisory work group to work with the Commission to achieve integration ensuring specialization and development of the performance of actors on the issue of detainees. The group will help coordinate the documentation, investigation, prosecution and accountability as well as providing support to the victims and establish mechanisms of political, legal and media action.
The workshop also saw the drawing up of a strategy for joint action and the distribution of tasks on the basis of coordination and mechanisms for implementation and follow-up.
The workshop brought together representatives of the Free Bar Associations of Aleppo, Dara’a, Homs, Idlib and Hama as well as the associations for detainees and female ex-detainees and local organizations and specialists on the issue of detainees and missing persons.
Participants discussed the reality of the issue of detainees in terms of documentation, investigation and communication with the relevant international organizations and bodies.
Coordinator of the Commission and member of the Coalition’s political committee, Yasser Al-Farhan, said that dozens of human rights organizations and rights activists are currently working on the issue of detainees and missing persons. He said that this work lacks mechanisms of coordination and integration, which leads to the disruption of efforts.
Al-Farhan pointed out that the workshop succeeded in forming a joint work group to cooperate in this important, complicated issue. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian National Coalition Anas Al-Abdeh said that the Constitutional Committee is not the political solution in Syria, but part of the political process, stressing that today’s priority must be put an end to the onslaught of the Assad regime and its backers on Idlib.
President Al-Abda made these remarks during an expanded meeting that brought together the Coalition’s Secretary-General, members of the political committee, and commanders of the Third Corps of the Syrian National Army in the town of Azaz in northern rural Aleppo on Thursday.
President Al-Abdah gave an overview of the latest political developments as he called for unity and cooperation to support the steadfastness of the people of Idlib and stop the war crimes against civilians there. He said: “We believe that the Assad regime will always seek to avoid implementing resolutions and agreements.”
The announcement about the formation of the Constitutional Committee should be seen as “one part of the political process,” President Al-Abdah said. He added that “we count on the full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2254, including the formation of a Transitional Governing Body (TGB) and the drafting of a new constitution then the holding of fair elections under the auspices of the United Nations as well as the implementation of the humanitarian provisions, namely the establishment of a nationwide ceasefire, the release of detainees, and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.”
Moreover, President Al-Abdah stressed that the Coalition is keen on working with all the forces and institutions of the revolution, noting that the Coalition’s strategy begins with the establishment of good governance through an interim Syrian government capable of providing the best services to the population and the formation of a national army capable of protecting the liberated areas and restoring security and stability.
He also underscored the importance of starting to prepare for free, fair elections in the liberated areas, adding that the success of these elections will give the forces of the revolution legitimacy.
For his part, the Coalition’s Secretary-General, Abdul Basit Abdul Latif, stressed the importance of improving security in the liberated areas and preventing the enemies of the revolution from destabilizing these areas. “The work in the liberated areas gives hope to all Syrians for an ambitious, promising, administrative model.”
Participants in the meeting extensively discussed the plans of the Syrian Interim Government, especially the Ministry of Defense and the future of the political process and the realization of the aspirations of the Syrian people. President Al-Abda answered questions put forward by the participants. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)