The Syrian National Coalition’s Department of Foreign Relations met with the French political advisor on Syria, Fabrice Desplechin, and discussed with him the latest political developments, especially the recent meeting of the Small Group in Geneva.
Coordinator of the Department, Abdel Ahad Steifou, stressed the need for the enforcement of international resolutions, especially the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. He noted that Article IV of UN resolution 2254 set out a clear timetable for the drafting of a new constitution and then the holding of free, fair elections within 18 months under the auspices of the United Nations.
Steifou also stressed the need for confidence-building measures, including a nationwide ceasefire, the release of detainees, the introduction of humanitarian aid, and ensuring the voluntary return of the IDPs and refugees to their places of origin.
Moreover, Steifou called for the electoral institutions to be formed in accordance with international standards and for their members and institutions to be nominated under the supervision of the United Nations. The United Nations must have total oversight on the management of the daily affairs of the elections; receive complaints and appeals; and have the power to validate the results of the elections.
Steifou also stressed the rejection of attempts to limit the work of the Constitutional Committee to amending the constitution of 2012. He pointed out that the Assad regime insists on this demand as it is desperately trying to avoid serious engagement in the political process.
Attempts to change the sequence of the stages of the political process, such as the holding of elections before the drafting of a new constitution, will not lead to positive results and will take the political process to a deadlock once again.
Steifou added that there are many grave articles in the current election law that will deprive millions of refugees and IDPs of their right to stand for election.
Furthermore, Steifou called on the friendly countries of the Syrian people, especially the Small Group, to exert pressure on the Assad regime's allies to fully and genuinely engage in the political process instead of putting pressure on the Syrian opposition to make concessions.
He pointed out that the Coalition still believes that the solution must be a political one that meets the aspirations of the people and in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Interim Government Abdurrahman Mustafa held an important meeting with officials of the US State Department and discussed with them the major humanitarian crisis in Idlib. He also highlighted the vision of the new SIG which is based on civil administration in the liberated areas.
Participants in the meeting included SIG’s Minister of Local Administration Mohamed Said Suleiman, a SIG technical team, Director of the US State Department's START Team, Michael Koplovsky, Political Chief Zehra Bell, and START Political Assistant Mohammed Najjar.
Mustafa said that the meeting was focused the scale of the catastrophe resulting from the continued military operations targeting residential areas and medical facilities in Idlib. He stressed the need for the major actors, most notably the United States, to actively assume their role in Syrian as it will reflect positively on the political process.
Moreover, Mustafa spoke about the plans and projects that SIG is working to turn into real programs on the ground, pointing out that good governance of the liberated areas will have a significant impact on the political process.
The success of SIG’s work will bring security and stability to the liberated areas, Mustafa said, adding that this will encourage the IDP and refugees to return. He also said that security and stability will create a positive atmosphere and jobs dissuading the population from seeking refuge in neighboring countries.
Mustafa gave an overview of SIG’s achievements, especially in the area of education and the development and improvement of the work of local councils. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Secretary General of the Syrian National Coalition of Syrian, Abdul Basit Abdul Latif, met with a delegation of the International Association of Arab Poets in Istanbul and discussed with them the role of Syrian poets, writers and intellectuals in supporting the Syrian revolution and helping achieve its goals for freedom and dignity.
The delegation comprised the poets Anas Al-Dughaim, Abdul Rahman Abu Ras, and Khaled al-Muhaimid. Abdul Latif stressed the distinguished presence of Syrian poets in the International Association of Arab Poets as he praised their contribution to the revolution through their poems that aroused immense enthusiasm among the Syrian people.
Moreover, participants in the meeting stressed the need to get rid of the authoritarian regime in Syria as they held it responsible for the decline of cultural movement in Syria.
The Secretary-General received an invitation to attend the Arab Poetry Festival which will begin on September 20 at the theater of the Faculty of Theology, University Marmara in Istanbul. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Anas al-Abda, President of the Syrian National Coalition, held separate meetings with the Office of Regional Affairs of the Arab States, the Office of Relations with the European Union, and the Offices of Turkey and the Americas and discussed with them the strengthening of relations with the governments of those countries and the affairs of Syrian nationals residing in these countries.
Participants in the meetings discussed the plan of action for the next two months in accordance with the agreed strategy as well as the major humanitarian crisis resulting from the Assad regime and its allies’ brutal onslaught on the de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria.
Participants also discussed the enormous needs of the IDPs, as President al-Abda said that the Assad regime's targeting of medical facilities is to blame for the mass displacement of civilians.
President al-Abda said: “We face the potential danger of a fresh wave of refugees similar to the one that took place in 2015. The IDPs are in urgent need for assistance before the onset of winter. There is also a pressing need for a ceasefire and a return to the political process in accordance with international resolutions, especially the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.”
President al-Abda briefed the coordinators on the plan of action of the new Syrian Interim Government which will give priority to civil administration and the provision of essential services to the civilian population in the liberated areas. He pointed to the importance of the SIG getting support from donors to start implementing its programs.
Moreover, President al-Abda stressed the need to increase communications with the sisterly and friendly states that support the cause of the Syrian people in order to strengthen relations and build a common vision on the political process in Syria.
President al-Abda pointed out that the Iranian policies does not pose a threat to Syria and its people only, but also to the majority of the countries of the region. He strongly condemned the attack that targeted the Saudi Aramco oil facilities several days ago. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The representative of the Syrian National Coalition in France, Munzer Makhous, said that he met with local activists to discuss the establishment of a comprehensive database of people with disabilities and the injured as well as the orphaned children in Syria.
Makhous, who is also member of the Coalition’s General Assembly, pointed out that they also discussed the challenges facing the project, adding that he intends to meet and contact local and international institutions for this purpose.
Makhous also pointed out that he requested assistance in obtaining information and figures from several local and international organizations as well as from the Syrian Interim Government and the Assistance Coordination Unit. He pointed to the existence of serious challenges to the compilation of lists of people with disabilities and the orphans.
The establishment of a database will help secure support from specialized institutions and international associations, which will contribute to the provision of assistance to this important segment of society, especially in their daily lives, and enable them to engage in the community, he added.
Moreover, Makhous stressed that people with disabilities, war injuries and orphans are a vital witness to the Assad regime’s ongoing crimes against civilians, especially the shelling and targeting of medical centers, schools and public markets.
The Coalition earlier invited representatives of people with disabilities and war injuries to attend the General Assembly’s 47th ordinary session which was held late August as it stressed the need to hold perpetrators of war crimes in Syria accountable. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-president of the Syrian National Coalition, Oqab Yahya, stressed that there is a clear international effort to achieve a breakthrough in the political process which was stalled because of the Assad regime’s intransigence and refusal to implement international resolutions. He said that the launch of the work of the Constitutional Committee is important but taken alone, it is not enough to achieve the essence of those resolutions.
The top priority must be to ensure protection of civilians and stopping the shelling on their homes and vital facilities, including hospitals, public markets and schools, Yahya said. He added that what comes next is the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid to the IDPs and relieve the hundreds of thousands of people who are staying out in the open and take shelter under olive trees.
Moreover, Yahya pointed out that it will be impossible to obtain the consent of the Syrian people for any political achievement without gaining their confidence in the political process as a whole. He said: “We are in a complicated political process that dragged on for years. The regime has not committed to any of its phases, so we count on the implementation of the humanitarian provisions set out in the UN Security Council resolution 2254 in parallel with the launch of the work of the Constitutional Committee.”
Yahya pointed out that the Russian president's latest remarks are far from proceeding with a real political process as he insists on repeating the narrative of terrorism to support his strategy to rehabilitate the Assad regime despite the many international reports which have shown that the bombardment does not target military sites but mainly civilian areas. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Supreme Hajj Committee begun a series of technical meetings with the aim of assessing the latest hajj season and paving the way for a new plan of action to maintain the level of work that the Syrian mission did in previous years.
Participants in the meetings included the Committee's staff, chiefs of the Syrian hajj campaigns and their assistants, members of the religious mission and religious guides.
These meetings will also continue to include the Committee’s offices in Beirut, Amman, Cairo and the Gulf, and the liberated areas.
The participants stressed the importance of seeking to improve the quality of services provided by the Committee to the Syrian pilgrims, noting that the Syrian Hajj mission has proved itself as one of the most efficient missions in the Arab and Islamic world.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia granted the Syrian National Coalition the exclusive right to manage the Syrian hajj pilgrimage seven years ago.
The Committee effectively managed the file with Syria’s quota of pilgrims reaching 22,500 pilgrims in the latest hajj season. Another 200 Syrian nationals also performed hajj as part of a royal grant from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz to the Syrian National Coalition for the second consecutive year, which was devoted mainly to the families and mothers of people killed in the revolution. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Regional Office for Arab Affairs of the Syrian National Coalition’s Department of Foreign Relations convened to discuss ways of developing relations with the Arab states and enhancing the Arab role in pushing the political process forward in accordance with the resolutions of the Arab League and relevant international resolutions, most notably the Geneva Communque of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Coordinator of the Office Salim al-Khatib gave an overview of the recent activities of the Office. It held several meetings with representatives of the state of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. It passed with them messages to their governments stressing the risks of normalization of relations with a “regime that has long lost its legitimacy, killed more than a million people and displaced more than 10 million.”
The Office thanked the representatives of the Arab states for hosting the Syrian refugees as it called for additional facilitations for them. It also stressed the need for continued, constructive communication to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people.
Al-Khatib said that these meetings came as part of a comprehensive plan drawn up by the Office to mobilize Arab diplomat support for the Syrian people.
Al-Khatib stressed the importance of the Arab role in confronting Iran’s malicious role in Syria and the region and its threatening of the security and stability in the Arab region. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition said that terror cells once again struck to target civilians as well as create chaos and fear in northern rural Aleppo.
In a press release issued on Monday, the Coalition said that Sunday's terrorist attack in the town of al-Ra'ie near the Grand Hospital left 11 people dead and 15 others injured. The death toll is likely to rise as some of the injured are in critical conditions.
“This heinous crime took place only two days after a similar attack targeted a popular market shortly before the Friday congregational prayers and resulted in the deaths of 13 civilians, including children and the injury of 25 others,” the Coalition said.
The Coalition stressed that “this premediated criminal attack targeted civilians with the aim of putting increasing pressure on them in parallel with the ongoing brutal bombardment against Idlib province.”
“These concerted attacks indicate insistence by the Assad regime and its allies on a pursuing military and criminal choice and undermining all chances for a political solution, buoyed by total international inaction.”
The Coalition went on to say that the Syrian National Army will continue to hunt down the terrorist elements and militias as it is working to increase its readiness to counter any evil plans and ensure the end of any terrorist presence threatening the security of civilians in the region.
“Terrorism that the regime is managing and spreading, as well the terrorism being practiced by the allied militias and organizations of various denominations are the direct result of the international failure to deal with the issue and its inability to impose a real political solution.” (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Member of the Syrian National Coalition’s political committee and Coordinator of the Office of Strategic Consulting Ahmed Ramadan said that the Syrian revolution is establishing a future phase in Syria that is based on democracy, justice and equality. He added that the rule of the Assad regime contradicts all civilizational values and prevents any form of development or progress.
Ramadan made these remarks during a special workshop organized by the Pioneers for Cooperation and Development in the Turkish city of Gaziantep on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy. The participants also included former minister in the Syrian Interim Government Mohammed Yassin Najjar and political researcher Saad Wifai’e.
In the workshop held under the title "Democracy: Is it a Necessity and a Demand?, Ramadan said that the main goal of the Syrian revolution is to get rid of the tyrannical regime and end tyranny both in terms of the thought and behavior as well as to build a democratic system of rule that respects diversity and fosters coexistence. This system shall draft a new constitution that paves the way for a phase in which the Syrian citizens can freely choose their representatives and where there is a peaceful transfer of power away from security crackdown and corruption.
Ramadan reviewed the course of the social movement and the role of civil society and political forces in confronting the Assad regime's repressive tools prior to the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011. He stressed that the biggest challenge was the ability of political parties to express themselves and their goals in a vision that provides a model for a democratic system of rule based on respect for public freedoms. The challenge was also the ability of these parties to ensure the adequate representation of the components of the Syrian people and emphasize the values of freedom, justice and equal citizenship.
Moreover, Ramadan stressed that the Syrian revolution relatively succeeded in building institutions that uphold the value of democracy despite the lack of suitable conditions for popular elections in a safe environment. He pointed to the importance of raising awareness about the values of democracy and to be deeply rooted in our social values so as to prevent the return of tyranny to our country.
For his part, Mohammed Yassin Najjar pointed out that the United Nations has given the issue of democracy special importance in its institutions. He said that the UN made the promotion of democratic values at the core of its work and encouraged States and regimes to move towards democratic systems ensuring respect for human rights.
Najjar called for democracy to be considered the basis of the future system of rule in Syria. He also stressed the need for the political parties and community forces to be engaged in building the individual, society, and the state systems and institutions based on the principle of respect for democracy, pluralism and fundamental freedoms.
Wifai’e said that some people’s opposition to democracy can be attributed to misunderstanding and confusion about the values of democracy – such as mechanisms governing the relationship between the individual, society and the state and working to choose the most efficient - and the Western liberal democracy, which adopts democracy in various forms.
Wifai’e said that there is an urgent need to benefit from the democratic building system and the experiences of peoples everywhere in the world, especially those that have fought a long struggle to get rid of tyranny and start the process of democratization.
The attendees asked questions about the issue, stressing the importance of the Syrian people sending a clear message to the world that they are seeking to build a democratic, pluralistic state that is committed to human rights conventions and universal human values. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)