The Syrian National Coalition’s Department of Government Affairs on Tuesday convened to discuss the first steps the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) made to start its work in the liberated areas. The meeting was chaired by the Coalition President Anas al-Abda.
Members of the Department talked with SIG’s Head Abdurrahman Mustafa and SIG’s Ministers via a video link. The Department stressed the need for giving priority to the ensuring of security and stability in the liberated areas as well as to the improvement of education and health services.
Members of the Department said that the provision of security and essential services for the civilian population “is of paramount importance” and key to encouraging the return of the IDPs to their homes; boosting the economic activity in the region; and the creation of new jobs.
Moreover, members of the Department asserted their full support for SIG’s vision and plan of action as they pledged to facilitate its work. They also expressed the hope that SIG will receive the necessary support from donors to enable it carry out its plans and programs.
For his part, SIG’s Abdurrahman Mustafa said that the inauguration of his new cabinet took place in "a democratic atmosphere that every Syrian can take pride in,” pointing out that SIG’s work will complement the Coalition’s political vision.
Mustafa pointed out that the SIG gives priority to raising the level of coordination among SIG’s ministries and the civil, security and military institutions, adding that the liberated areas will witness considerable improvement in the coming period, especially in the areas of security and stability. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) Abdurrahman Mustafa, said that his government's plan of action is based on seeking effective performance on the ground through civil administration and good governance as well as on the consolidation of security and stability in the liberated areas through the formation of a professional national army.
In an interview with the Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, Mustafa said that SIG is seeking to strengthen coordination among ministries, civil, military, and security institutions. SIG is also seeking to strengthen coordination with the Turkish government.
Mustafa pointed out that SIG will spare no effort in the coming months to provide essential services to the civilian population and to improve security. “A ministry of defense has been formed with Major General Salim Idris as the Ministre of Defense who is tasked with raising the level of organization, training and combat readiness of the national army.”
These measures will encourage the return of investors who will launch projects and investments, which in turn will allow the creation of jobs in the region.
Mustafa stressed the need for SIG presence everywhere across the liberated areas as the executive arm of the Syrian National Coalition, which has gained international recognition as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
Moreover, Mustafa stressed the importance of effective coordination with the Turkish government as vital in terms of enabling SIG to effectively manage the liberated areas. He also stressed that “Turkey is a strategic ally of the Syrian people and their revolution, and we will seek to regulate and develop the relationship with it.” (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
President of the Syrian National Coalition, Anas al-Abda, sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, president and members of the UN Security Council to draw their attention to the dire humanitarian situation in northwestern Syria resulting from the Assad regime and Russia’s continued crimes.
Al-Abda said that the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure, the regime’s recapture of northern rural Hama and southern rural Idlib, and the siege of other areas have further worsened the suffering of civilians.
Moreover, Al-Abda said that more than a million civilians are wandering in the open and looking for safety either in the open or IDP camps. He said that the majority of the IDP fled the regime’s assault to areas near the borders of Turkey.
“The displacement patterns remain the same which increase the pressure on the host communities in the areas of displacement that are already in desperate need of assistance, urging them to think about seeking refuge in other countries despite the risks they face while crossing borders and seas,” Al-Abda added.
Furthermore, Al-Abda called for the delivery of UN humanitarian assistance to Idlib, Hama, Aleppo and Latakia across the Turkish border in accordance with resolutions 2165 (2014) and 2449 (2018).
He also called for the expansion of the UN humanitarian assistance to meet basic and emergency needs with respect to shelter, food, education, health and services for IDPs and residents of those areas.
Al-Abda called for supporting the political process in order to achieve a political transition and prevent the regime from sabotaging it again, taking in consideration that the effective solution of the humanitarian crisis in Syria requires a political solution through the complete implementation of resolution 2254.
“There are three million civilians (women 25% and children 51%) in Idlib, paying a painful price for the endless attacks, where women bear the brunt of the pain. Nearly 400,000 children have no school to go to, and 150,000 were recently displaced and they need immediate education services.”
Al-Abda also said that the Syrian people are living “the worst humanitarian tragedy the world has seen since the second World War Two,” stressing that this must trigger international action to remove the threats to international peace and security. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Oqab Yahya on Monday said that the international community has not kept its promises to prevent the Iranian oil tanker from unloading its cargo in Syria. He pointed out that the arrival of the oil tanker at the Syrian coast will fuel the Assad regime’s military machine and enable it to carry on with its atrocious crimes against Syrian civilians.
Yahya said that Iran has violated all international resolutions and the sanctions imposed on it and on the Assad regime by the US administration. He noted that this will undermine efforts to bring the regime back to the negotiating table.
Yahya stressed that the international community’s lukewarm stance twards Iran's “malicious” activities in the past few years reflected negatively on the peace and security of the countries of the region. He warned that this policy risks taking the whole region to the “edge of an abyss.”
The international community must show a real, concrete response to the arrival of the oil tanker Adrian Daraya 1 at Tartous port, Yahya added. The tanker arrived at the Syrian coast despite the repeated warnings to Iran and to whoever provides assistance to the vessel.
Not only the issuance of warnings will fail to make Iran back down, but will also be seen as a green light by Iran to provide more support to the Assad regime and embolden it to repudiate the political process laid out in the international resolutions, especially the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN resolution 2254.
The vessel was photographed by US satellites near the port of Tartous, which was later confirmed by the National Security Adviser to the White House John Bolton.
The British Royal Marines helped seize the Iranian supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4 on suspicion of being headed to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. It was released on August 15 after Iran pledged in writing that the tanker would not unload its cargo in Syria. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Coordinator of the Syrian National Commission for Detainees and Missing Persons, Yasser Al-Farhan, said that the Assad regime “lives off the blood of Syrian people,” adding that the Commission has documented the testimonies of ex-detainees in the regime prisons. He said that these testimonies brought to light the scale of atrocities and violations of international conventions and norms.
Al-Farhan, who is also member of the Syrian National Coalition’s political committee, said that the Commission has recently listened to testimonies of ex-detainees who were detained or abducted by the regime’s national defense and shabiha militias. The Commission also interviewed relatives of detainees and the missing and documented their testimonies in accordance with international standards.
Al-Farhan pointed out that the move came as part of the Commission’s efforts to document the regime’s violations against detainees. The Commission has also been collecting evidence and supporting the cases being reviewed by the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) and other international bodies. He underscored the importance of accountability for of war crimes and its impact on the future of Syria.
Moreover, Al-Farhan described the testimonies of the survivors as "shocking and appalling," adding that Assad regime officials committed widespread war crimes against detainees, such as torture, sexual violence, and executions.
The Assad regime extensively used arrests and abductions as part of its strategy to suppress the Syrian revolution, noting that this strategy is based on spreading fear and terror in the hearts of civilians.
Al-Farhan added that arrests and abductions are still ongoing. He said that the Assad regime refuses to disclose the fate, names and whereabouts of detainees in its custody. It also refuses to implement international resolutions and the humanitarian provisions related to the release of detainees.
“The Assad regime extorts families of detainees by demanding huge amounts of money in exchange for information about their loved ones. This extorted money has become a main income for the regime and its repressive security forces.” (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Hisham Marwa, member of the Syrian National Coalition’s legal committee, said that the Iranian military bases in Syria were built with the aim of suppressing the Syrian people and have absolutely nothing to do with the alleged confrontation with the Israeli occupation.
In an interview with the Saudi newspaper Okaz on Saturday, Marwa said that the Iranian military bases are part of a project that Tehran has long been working on to consolidate its presence in Iraq, Syria and neighboring countries.
Marwa pointed out that the Iranian military bases are also aimed at popping up the Assad regime in its war against the Syrian people. He noted that these bases are also part of a bigger project aimed at destabilizing the Arab region, namely Iraq, the Gulf countries, and Jordan in the first place.
With regards to the Russian support for the Assad regime, Marwa pointed out that the Assad regime was on the verge of total collapse in 2012 when the Iranians rushed to salvage it. In 2015, when the Iranians proved unable to save the regime, Assad sought the help of the Russians who used the same tactics they previously used in Afghanistan and Chechnya. He said that the Russians have been involved in massacres against Syrian civilians.
Marwa went on to say that the scorched earth policy being used by the Assad regime aims to change the demographic landscape in Syria and make progress on the ground with the support of around 90,000 Iranian-backed militants.
Moreover, Marwa warned that by continuing to build military bases in Syria, Iran looks determined to carry on with its sectarian project aimed at stabilizing the whole region. He pointed out that these bases must serve as a message to the Arabs that Iran will go further in its sectarian project aimed at expanding its influence in the region. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition’s Department of Foreign Relations on Friday held a regular meeting with representatives and envoys of friendly states of the Syrian people and discussed with them the latest political and on the ground developments in Syria, especially the dire humanitarian conditions in Idlib, the vision of the Syrian Interim Government, and the constitutional process.
During the meeting, which was attended by President of the Coalition Anas Al-Abdah, members of the Coalition highlighted the war crimes the Assad regime and its allies are committing in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria and the humanitarian crisis forcing about 1.5 million people to flee towards the Turkish border.
President al-Abdah stressed that the international community has so far failed to shoulder its duties to protect Syria civilians. He called on the representatives of friendly states to urge their governments to work towards reaching a cessation of hostilities, a recommitment to the Idlib Agreement, and supporting the retention of the Turkish observation posts.
Moreover, President al-Abdah stressed the need for all states to shoulder their responsibilities and correct their mistakes, calling for the launch of an international appeal for urgent humanitarian aid to the IDPs. He warned of a major, fresh wave of refugees.
President al-Abdah also called for supporting the presence of the Coalition’s civil institutions in the liberated areas, especially in Idlib and for enabling them to provide essential services to the civilian population.
Head of the Syrian interim Abdurrahman Mustafa gave an overview of his cabinet’s new plan of action as he pointed to the need to support this plan and turn it into real programs serving civilians in the liberated areas. He said that such support will have a significant, positive impact on the stabilization of the liberated areas and on encouraging the IDPs to return to their homes.
Mustafa discussed prospects of cooperation with the friends of Syria for the success of the Syrian Interim Government, noting that such cooperation is a common goal between the Syrian people and the friendly states of the Syrian revolution.
Vice-president of the Coalition Abdul Hakim Bashar talked about the situation in the northeast as he gave an overview of the project the Coalition has already developed with regards to the management of this region.
Head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr Al-Hariri, gave an overview of the developments in the political process and the reports about the launch of the Constitutional Committee in the near future. He stressed the importance of the reinvigoration of the political process and the implementation of international resolutions, chiefly among them the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Resolution 2254. He warned of the failure to enforce the humanitarian provisions contained in the UN resolutions. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Members of the Syrian National Coalition’s political committee met with representatives of the Rohingya ethnic group which are being subject to multiple war crimes by the Myanmar government that are similar to the crimes being committed by the Assad regime and its allies against the Syrian people.
Participants in the meeting included Vice-president Oqab Yahya, members of the political committee, President of the Rohingya World Center Mohammed Alaim Yassin, and the President of the Arakan Humanitarian Association Abdul Majid Abdul Ahad al-Arakani.
The two sides stressed that the international community’s failure to fulfill its obligations to protect civilians led to a rise in violence and an increase in crimes against innocent people in different parts of the world.
The participants pointed out that the genocide against the Syrian and Rohingya people exacerbated the humanitarian crises, triggering unprecedented refugee crisis. They stressed that putting an end to the refugee crisis requires a firm international stance to enforce international resolutions and stop violence against civilians.
The two sides agreed to take joint international legal measures to press the international community to shoulder its obligations, especially with regard to the maintaining of international peace and security, in addition to the filing of lawsuits in front of the International Criminal Court by signatories to the Rome Convention to ensure accountability for war crimes. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Abdel Majid Barakat, member of the Syrian National Coalition’s political committee, called on the countries hosting Syrian refugees to file lawsuits against the Assad regime before the International Criminal Court to punish it for the widespread war crimes against civilians.
Barakat pointed out that the signatory states to the Rome Convention can file lawsuits before the International Criminal Court against the Assad regime which committed the crimes of deportation and forced displacement on the territory of these countries. He added that the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court ruled that the ICC can exercise jurisdiction over the mass displacement of the Rohingya minority from Myanmar to Bangladesh in 2018.
Moreover, Barakat pointed out that this is the first judicial case resembling the situation in Syria. “We can take this case and press the host countries which are parties to the Rome Statute to take the same procedures.”
Barakat urged the Turkish government to initiate an action against the Assad regime as it hosts the largest percentage of Syrian refugees on its territory. He warned that “Article 12 of the Rome Statute made it clear that the states that have not signed but ratified the jurisdiction of the ICC can file such lawsuits, which applies to Turkey.” (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Interim Government (SIG), headed by Abdurrahman Mustafa, officially begun performing its duties at a meeting on Wednesday that brought together former SIG’s Head Jawad Abu Hatab and the former cabinet.
During the inauguration ceremony, Mustafa stressed that his government “will continue down the path of the previous cabinet; build on what has already been achieved; and address the shortcomings.” He thanked the cabinet of former SIG’s Head Jawad Abu Hatab for working under extremely difficult conditions.
Mustafa pointed to the need to coordinate the efforts with the previous SIG’s cabinet to hand over the unfinished projects and plans; improve the conditions in the liberated areas; and provide efficient, adequate services to civilians, especially in these difficult circumstances in the ‘de-escalation zone’ in northwestern Syria.
Mustafa stressed that SIG’s new program aims to establish a "good governance” in parallel with the political efforts of the Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate, sole representative of the Syrian people so as to support the UN-led process aimed at finding a political solution in accordance with international resolutions, most notably UN resolution 2254.
Mustafa also underscored the importance of coordination and cooperation with the Turkish government as key to securing the needs to enable the work of ministries and government institutions across the liberated areas. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)