The Syrian National Coalition’s Department of Foreign Relations on Tuesday met an American delegation headed by Zehra Bell, Political Chief of Syria Transition Assistance Response Team (START). Both sides discussed several important issues related to the political and on the ground developments in Syria as well as regional issues related to Syria.
Coordinator of the Department, Abdulahad Astepho, stressed the importance of the meeting, describing it as "fruitful and successful." He emphasized the importance of the strong relations between the two sides and the need for continuous communication and coordination in order to serve mutual interests.
“The better the relations between our allies, the more we will be able to overcome obstacles and achieve the common goals that we share with friendly and sisterly states,” Astepho said.
The two sides also discussed the continued bombing campaign by the Assad regime and its allies in Idlib. They stressed the need to put an end to the atrocities and war crimes taking place against civilians as they underscored the importance of protecting civilians and establishing an immediate ceasefire.
Astepho pointed out that the two sides share the same position with regards to renewal of UN Security Council Resolution 2165 on the cross-border delivery of humanitarian aid, especially via the border crossings that are outside the control of the Assad regime. He said that civilians are in urgent need for relief aid, especially those suffering extremely dire conditions in Idlib and the hundreds of thousands of IDPs.
Moreover, the two sides discussed the situation of the Kurdish National Council. Astepho emphasized that the Council is an integral part of the Syrian National Coalition, noting that the Coalition is looking forward to the return of members of the Council in the Syrian National Coalition to attend meetings and actively participate in the decision-making.
The two sides also talked about the developments of the political process and the Assad regime’s continued attempts to disrupt the work of the Constitutional Committee. They emphasized that there is only a political solution in Syria and that it can only be achieved through the implementation of international resolutions, most notably the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254.
The American side strongly condemned the Assad regime’s atrocities in Idlib and re-stated the forceful U.S. opposition to any offensive on Idlib, pledging its support for continued humanitarian assistance to civilians and the newly displaced.
The American side noted the passage of the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 was an important step in promoting accountability for the large-scale atrocities Bashar al-Assad and his regime carried out in Syria.
The American side stressed U.S. objectives in Syria remained finding a political resolution based on UNSC 2254, the removal of Iranian forces from the country, and the campaign against terrorist groups, including ISIS all of which required close coordination and cooperation between the United States and the National Coalition. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Supreme Hajj Committee announced that it will begin receiving applications for the upcoming Hajj season 2020 (1441 Hijri) in all its branches in Syria and neighboring countries starting from Tuesday. It reaffirmed its keenness on the success of the its work and on serving all Syrian pilgrims from all regions.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Committee warned against submitting fake papers, threatening several measures and penalties against those who submit false or fake documents, including forfeit of the right to perform the Hajj pilgrimage.
The Committee also warned of offices and individuals who were not approved by the Committee, calling on intending pilgrims to submit travel documents and pay financial dues only to the offices approved by the Hajj Committee.
The Committee reaffirmed that it serves all Syrian citizens intending to perform the Hajj pilgrimage this season. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)