As part of a European tour to mobilize support for the Syrian people, a delegation of the Syrian National Coalition met a high-level delegation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome. The Italian officials included Luca Gori, Director of the Mediterranean and the Middle East Department in the Italian Foreign Ministry and Paolo Dionisi, Italian Special Envoy for Syria.
The two sides discussed the dire humanitarian conditions in Syria, especially in Idlib as a result of the onslaught the Assad regime and Russian forces have unleased in the province since late April.
The Coalition President Anas al-Abda stressed the need for Italy and other friends of the Syrian people to work on ending the bombardment of civilian facilities such as healthcare centers, schools, and public markets. He pointed out that the international community and its active members are obliged to take concrete measures to protect civilians in accordance with their responsibilities.
President al-Abda attributed the refugee crisis to the Assad regime’s continued crimes against civilians, warning of a fresh wave of refugees if the shelling on Idlib does not stop, humanitarian assistance to the IDPs is not urgently provided, and a suitable environment for their return to their places of origin is not created.
Moreover, President al-Abda stressed that the Assad regime and its allies’ continued procrastination with regards to the implementation of international resolutions and the insistence on pursuing a bloody military solution means the humanitarian crisis in Syria will drag on for years to come. He also underscored the need to resume the political process and reach a political solution in accordance with international resolutions, most notably the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
For their part, officials of the Italian Foreign Ministry stressed the importance of the revitalization of the political process and of the parties sitting at the negotiating table.
The officials also stressed the need for genuine confidence-building measures. The Coalition delegation said that these measures should include real progress in the issue of detainees and the establishment of a safe, neutral environment for the safe and voluntary return of refugees. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
A delegation from the Syrian National Coalition headed by President Anas Al-Abda met with HE Msgr. Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relation with States in Vatican. The two sides stressed the need to protect civilians in Syria and stop all military operations.
President al-Abda said that the visit to the Vatican “is very important given its role in bringing peace to different parts of the world.” He talked about the humanitarian situation in Idlib and the Assad regime’s targeting of civilian facilities such as medical facilities, schools, and places of worship, stressing the importance of stopping all military operations targeting civilians.
Al-Abda called for the mobilization of international efforts to stop the onslaught the Assad regime’s forces are launching on Idlib with Russian and Iranian support. He also called for a return to the negotiating table and the enforcement of international resolutions, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Moreover, al-Abda pointed out that the issue of refugees in the host countries, especially in Lebanon, can only be resolved through a political solution and the withdrawal of sectarian militias from the Syrian territory, including the Hezbollah militia.
Al-Abda stressed the need to release the detainees and disclose the fate of the missing, adding that the issue of detainees is one of the thorniest issues as the Assad regime resorts to this tactic to terrorize the Syrian people and discourage them from demanding freedom and dignity.
For his part, HE Msgr. Paul Gallagher stressed the need to protect civilians in Idlib; stop all military operations; provide humanitarian support for the IDPs, and pay more attention to the issue of detainees and seek their release. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian National Coalition, Anas Al-Abda, sent a letter to the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, thanking him for the honorable positions of the State of Kuwait towards the Syrian people and its defense of their rights in international forums.
On behalf of the Coalition’s General Assembly, al-Abda extended to the Emir of Kuwait the best wishes for a speedy recovery and a lasting sense of health and well-being.
Al-Abda stressed the Coalition's keenness on the best fraternal, distinguished relations with the State of Kuwait as well as its permanent desire to strengthen those relations in a way that serves the two brotherly peoples.
“We appreciate what Kuwait has done over the past years in support for the Syrian people at the humanitarian and political levels.”
The State of Kuwait, along with Belgium and Germany, submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling for a ceasefire, respect for the international humanitarian law, and putting pressure on the regime to release the detainees. Kuwait has also contributed enormously and generously to ease the suffering of the Syrian people. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition’s Office of Strategic Consulting and the Office of Studies and Documents held a series of meetings with bodies, personalities, and activists in the Turkish province of Hatay which hosts about 400,000 Syrian refugees. The meetings discussed the latest on the ground and political developments.
The Syrian’s Coalition Representative Office in the city of Hatay provided an overview of the situation of Syrian refugees in the province. Participants in the meetings discussed ways to strengthen the link between the Syrian community and the Coalition and the Syrian Interim Government operating in the liberated areas.
The discussions touched on the course of the Syrian revolution, the situation in Idlib and east of the Euphrates, and the political process. The delegation of the Coalition gave a detailed explanation of the on the ground and political developments. It stressed the importance of unity among Syrians and the organization of internal work as well as the positive interaction with the media campaigns launched in support of the Syrian revolution.
For their part, representatives of the Syrian community in Hatay said that they view the Coalition as the legitimate umbrella of the revolution as they reaffirmed their support for it. They called for expediting the launch of the work of the Syrian Interim Government to provide basic services to the Syrian civilians in the liberated areas and those being displaced from their homes as a result of the brutal onslaught the Assad regime and Russian forces have launched on Idlib and rural Hama.
They also presented proposals to strengthen communication, activate the presence of the Coalition in Hatay, and organize the work of the Syrian community in one framework. They also stressed the need to utilize the expertise of the community which includes an elite of lawyers, intellectuals, officers, scientific and educational experts. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition denounced the shocking statements recently made by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as an attempt to whitewash the image of the “murderous regime” which committed the most heinous crimes against the Syrian people and Palestinian refugees.
“The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has not only diverted aid from the deserving refugees and IDPs and dedicated it to supporting Assad’s war machine and his murderous regime which is responsible for the largest displacement operation in the world since the Second World War as well as to supporting the regime forces to commit more war crimes against the Syrian people, but has also recently made attempts to whitewash the regime,” said the Coalition in a press release issued on Thursday.
The Coalition said that “the UNHCR barefacedly thanked the Assad regime, ignoring the facts in a way that cannot be justified whatsoever, especially as half of the Syrian people have become internally displaced or refugees in neighboring countries and around the world as a result of policies and plans developed and implemented by the regime and its allies.”
The Coalition condemned these statements whitewashing the regime and extending “deep gratitude” to the regime for its “cooperation and support for refugees in Syria.”
“These remarks ignored the regime’s destruction of schools, institutes and universities as well as its killing and detaining of tens of thousands of students and teachers, including Palestinian refugees, and torturing them in its prisons. These crimes have been confirmed by independent and official bodies and committees of the UN.”
The Coalition went on: “These reprehensible remarks also contradict dozens of reports and documents submitted by committees of the UN Security Council, all of which accused the regime and its allies of involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity and the use of chemical weapons.”
“Such poisonous statements, which cannot be justified and which were made outside any reasonable context, cannot pass without being classified as part of attempts to whitewash the image of the regime.” The Coalition stressed that such statements suggest that the UN institutions are infiltrated in one way or another by elements working in favor of the regime or benefit from it directly or indirectly.
The Coalition called on the UN to order the UNHCR to retract its statements and not to make any statements that contradict the UN’s official positions or that condone the Assad regime’s crimes. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Bader Jamous, member of the Syrian National Coalition’s political committee, stressed the need to expedite the launch of the work of the Constitutional Committee and to remove all obstacles to its formation.
Jamous on Thursday participated in a meeting in Geneva which brought together the Small Group on Syria, the UN envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen, and a delegation from the Syrian Negotiations Commission headed by Nasr al-Hariri.
Jamous also underscored the need to convene the Constitutional Committee before the start of the meetings of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month. He also underlined the importance of utilizing these meetings to ensure the enforcement of the humanitarian provisions set out in the international resolutions, most importantly the establishment of a ceasefire, the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need, and the release of detainees.
Moreover, Jamous stressed that the only way to end the conflict in Syria, restore security and stability, ensure the return of the refugees and the IDPs is through the revitalization of the political process that guarantees the release of all detainees and the drafting of a new constitution for the country. He said that this must take place in parallel with the creation of a safe, neutral environment through the formation of a Transitional Governing Body (TGB) laying the groundwork for fair elections under the auspices of the United Nations.
For his part, the US special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey said that the meeting saw “a very fruitful dialogue on the situation in Syria and the future course under resolution 2254.”
“We were appalled by the continued violent attacks and the slaughter of civilians in Idlib,” Jeffrey said, stressing that “this must stop.” (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
A high-level delegation of the Syrian National Coalition, headed by President Anas Al-Abda, began a tour to Italy and the Vatican City as part of a plan to mobilize international support to stop the onslaught being launched by the Assad regime forces on Idlib with Russian and Iranian support. The tour will also seek a return to the negotiating table and ensure the enforcement of international resolutions, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN resolution 2254.
The Coalition’s delegation will put forward several proposals for ensuring protection of civilians, the launch of a relief program for the IDPs, and ensuring support for the programs being developed by the Syrian Interim Government to manage the liberated areas and enable civilians to stay in their homes. The proposals will focus on the importance of deterring the Assad regime and its allies from targeting civilians in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria. The delegation will also highlight the regime’s war crimes such as the bombing of healthcare centers, schools, public markets, and houses as the main reason of any new possible wave of refugees.
The delegation will also call on friendly states to support the UN efforts to revitalize the political process which has been stalled due to the intransigence of the Assad regime and its insistence on pursuing a bloody military solution. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr al-Hariri, met with the UN envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen in Geneva on Thursday and discussed with him the humanitarian situation in Idlib and the latest developments in the political process, including the formation of the Constitutional Committee and the need to find a clear mechanism for its work and mandate.
The two sides discussed the issue of detainees as one of the humanitarian provisions of UN resolution 2254, a nationwide ceasefire, and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.
Meanwhile, the Small Group on Syria met in Geneva on Thursday. Hariri took part in the meeting.
The meeting brought together experts and international envoys in preparation for a ministerial meeting scheduled for September 26 on the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly meetings in New York.
The Small Group meeting focused on the latest developments in Idlib, the consequences of the Assad regime’s and its allies’ ongoing onslaught on the region, and the US-Turkish ongoing arrangements for the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Bader Jamous, member of the Syrian National Coalition’s political committee, deplored the worsening living conditions in Syria resulting from the depreciation of the Syrian pound, especially for those living under the rule of the Assad regime. He stressed that a just political solution and the return of displaced Syrians will open the door for the lifting of sanctions and the return of investors and expatriate money to the country.
Jamous on Thursday said that the Assad regime is still pursuing an extremely detrimental financial policy, especially with regard to the prevention of trading of the foreign currency, which brought the Syrian pound to a record low.
He added that this sharp decline in the value of the Syrian pound led to a spike in the prices of local and imported goods, which reflected negatively on the purchasing power of the low and middle income earners as well as the most vulnerable groups. Government employees are now paid an equivalent of $2 per day only, he said, pointing out that the regime officials, meanwhile, are accumulating more wealth through various ways of extortion and embezzlement of public and private property.
Moreover, Jamous stressed that the regime is mainly to blame for the collapse of the Syrian currency and the Syrian economy as the regime spent the country’s reserves of foreign exchange on military operations directed against the Syrian people. Syria’s Central Bank said its reserves of foreign exchange now stand at 700 million US dollars, down from 20 billion at the start of the revolution.
Jamous pointed out that the inflation will most likely worsen as the Assad regime continued its policy of destruction of the infrastructure and the displacement of human resources. He pointed out that the Assad regime is indifferent to the reality of the economy and the market’s pressing need for hard currency and still counting on a bloody military solution and continues to drain the country's resources. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian-Turkish Joint Committee for the Follow-up on the Affairs of Syrian Refugees in Turkey held a technical meeting to discuss the implementation of the latest decisions on the settling of the status of Syrian nationals living in Istanbul.
Participants in the meeting included Coordinator of the Syrian National Coalition’s Office of Refugees Amal Sheikhou, member of the Coalition Yusuf Mahalli, and Istanbul Provincial Director of Migration Recep Batu. The two sides agreed to continue with the repletion of requests via the Syrian-Turkish Joint Committee.
The settlement decisions will apply to business owners and entrepreneurs who held work permits for three months or more, university students, humanitarian cases such as orphans and widows, and to the households with children registered in schools.
Batu said that these cases will be dealt in order of priority, adding that the Directorate of Immigration have already begun with the settling of the status of school students.
Speaking about the immense pressure on the branch of the Directorate of Immigration in the Sultanbeyli district of Istanbul, Batu indicated that they have completed preparations for the opening of two new branches in the districts of Esenyurt and Esenler. The new branches will remain open until 11 pm, including on holidays to receive requests for the settlement of status.
Batu also said that 15,000 Syrian nationals have so far been registered in the provinces where registration of new refugees is possible. He stressed the need for cooperation with all relevant bodies to cope with the large number of requests, called for raising the level of coordination to resolve all the problems being faced by the Syrian nationals in Turkey.
Both sides also stressed the need for the reception of all emergency cases in Istanbul hospitals and the continued offering of treatment for the patients who are not registered yet. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)