A delegation from the Syrian National Coalition travelled to the Swiss city of Geneva to participate in the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council which kicked off earlier on Monday. The delegation will seek to highlight the crimes Russia and the Assad regime are committing against civilians in Syria, especially in Idlib and rural Aleppo.
The delegation is headed by Vice-president Dima Moussa and includes Coordinator of the National Commission for the Affairs of Detainees and Missing Persons, Yasser Al-Farhan and Hassan Al-Haj Ali.
The delegation is set to participate in seminars and events as well as to hold several meetings with officials and diplomats from around the world on the sidelines of the session with the aim of exposing Russia’s atrocities in Syria, especially during its ongoing onslaught on Idlib and southwestern rural Aleppo.
The delegation took with it files and legal documents proving the involvement of Russia and the Assad regime in widespread crimes, such as the targeting of civilians and vital civilian centers, especially mosques, schools, medical centers, relief convoys, ambulances, and humanitarian workers.
The delegation also present several reports on the Assad regime's use of the UN humanitarian and relief aid for military purposes.
The delegation will focus on the issue of detainees and enforced disappearances. It will put forward documents and reports related to this issue as it will call on members of the Human Rights Council to treat it with all seriousness and establish a mechanisms to ensure the release of detainees and disclosing the fate of the forcibly disappeared. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition said that Russia is effectively playing a criminal role in Syria. It stressed that the Assad regime has become merely a participant with the Iranian militias, which means that Russia is the major party to the conflict, rendering its vote in this conflict illegal as per Article 27 of the United Nations Charter which bars the states that are parties to a conflict from voting on it.
In a press release issued on Thursday, the Coalition said that “Russia must be barred from voting, a demand that the Coalition has made more than once. Russia cannot be the criminal and the judge at the same time. The international community must put an end to this farce.”
“The Russian stance, which on Wednesday blocked the efforts of some UN Security Council member states and prevented the issuance of a statement calling for a ceasefire in Idlib, represents a continuation of the policy of covering up the crimes of Russia, the regime and Iran in Syria,” added the Coalition.
The Coalition went on to say that the “efforts of friendly states at the UN Security Council are highly appreciated, but the Syrian people expect more than sweet words from their friends while being subjected to horrific death at the hands of Russia and its followers. This divide between the friends of Syria and its enemies has almost emptied Syria of its indigenous population through killing and mass displacement.”
“The reprehensible Russian stance, which has been biased in favor of the murderous regime from day one, and which has been involved in criminality, bombing and killing, has significantly contributed to the aggravation of the situation in Syria and led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Syrians and the displacement of millions more. It has also opened the door to the most horrific massacres, crimes, and violations in the history of mankind.”
Moreover, the Coalition underscored that “the Russians would not have continued to deliberately target hospitals, medical centers, schools, and residential neighborhoods and to commit all types of war crimes and violations had the stances of friendly states been translated into actions that included deterrence of the criminals and holding perpetrators accountable.”
“Today it will not be possible to find a solution to stop the killing in Syria if Russia continues to play the role of criminal and the judge at the same time.”
The Coalition concluded its press release by calling on the major actors in the international community create an international mechanism to put an end to the ongoing criminal, terrorist attack on Aleppo and Idlib; provide the necessary immediate support for the displaced people, and create the appropriate conditions for the success of a political solution based on UN resolution 2254. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition’s political committee held its regular meeting on Thursday and focused on the latest developments in Idlib and rural Aleppo as well as on the crimes the Russian occupation, Iranian militias, and regime forces are committing against civilians.
Members of the committee talked via a video link with the Council of Ministers of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG). Head of SIG Abdurrahman Mustafa gave an overview on SIG’s work in the liberated areas, especially with regards to the provision of support to the displaced people.
The Minister of Defense and members of the Military Liaison Office presented military maps and talked about the situation on the ground and the readiness of the fighters on the battle fronts. They stressed that the morale of the Syrian National Army fighters is high and that they are determined to fend off the Russian attacks and defend their land and people.
They pointed to the existence of effective coordination with the Turkish side regarding military planning and the management of battles on the ground.
President of the Coalition, Anas Abdah, briefed the meeting on the results of the talks with the friendly and sisterly states as well as the talks and the coordination with the Turkish side on the grave situation in Idlib and rural Aleppo. He stressed that the international community’s failure to assume its legal duties with regards to implementing international resolutions and protecting civilians is unprecedented. He added: "We are not talking about promises, but about international resolutions that the UN Security Council already adopted. We are facing a dangerous situation that can only be described as complicity.”
He stressed that the Syrian people and the Turkish side are in one trench as the SNA fighters and the Turkish army are fighting side by side against the blatant attacks targeting civilians. He stressed that "we have no choice but to hold our ground.”
The Department of Foreign Relations gave an overview of its activities to send documents on the war crimes being committed by Russia, the Assad regime, and Iran against civilians to states, organizations, and international legal bodies, particularly the ongoing onslaught on Idlib and rural Aleppo.
The Department of Refugees and Displaced Persons Affairs also provided an explanation of the situation of the internally displaced people, the locations of their distribution, and their urgent needs. It also talked about the results of the recent correspondence and meetings with the donors who are directly involved in providing support to the displaced people.
Members of the political committee also discussed the UN Security Council meeting that took place yesterday and Russia's refusal to adopt a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Idlib. They also discussed the briefing that was delivered by the UN special envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen to the Council. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Yasser Al-Farhan, member of the Syrian National Coalition’s political committee, met with members of the Syrian Community Council in the Qatari capital, Doha. The two sides discussed the grave situation in Idlib and rural Aleppo and the efforts being made by the Coalition to urge the international community to take serious, firm positions with regards to the establishment of a ceasefire and the protection of civilians.
The meeting, which took place at the headquarters of the Syrian embassy in Doha, was attended by the Syrian ambassador to Qatar Nizar Al-Heraki, consul Bilal Turkiyya, head of the Council, Muhammed Yassin al-Najjar, and members of the Council.
They also discussed the extremely dire humanitarian situation the displaced people are going through due to the Russian aggression on the region, especially amidst the freezing cold that hit the region. They stressed the importance of communicating with the donors to provide urgent support to the displaced people.
Moreover, they discussed the latest developments in the political process and the impact of the crimes being committed by Russia and the regime against civilians on that process.
They discussed the issue of detainees and the missing and the role of the Coalition to disclose their fate and demand their release in light of the international community’s and human rights organizations’ continued ignoring of this issue.
Al-Farhan thanked members of the Community for the fruitful meeting as he made it clear that the Coalition always welcomes all opinions and proposals and seeks continuous communication and to activate the role of all Syrians so as to serve the interest of the Syrian people and their just cause.
He pointed out that the Coalition will hold more of such meetings that would bring closer the political committee and the Syrian people in general. It also works to evaluate each stage and bring views closer, stressing that the Coalition will spare no effort in the issue of detainees in all international forums and meetings.
He pointed out that arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, torture and execution, and all forms of inhumane treatment are rooted in the regime since Hafez al-Assad has seized power in Syria.
He added that these practices had been the modus operandi of the Assad regime over the past half a century in its engagement with the opposition before and during the revolution as one of its most important pillars in governance based on the terrorization of the people. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition’s Department of Foreign Relations on Tuesday convened to prepare a number of activities and events aimed at highlighting the crimes Russia and the Assad regime are committing in Syria, especially in Idlib and rural Aleppo.
The meeting was attended by coordinators of the Coalition’s departments and committees. The discussions focused on the situation in western rural Aleppo and Idlib province and the atrocious crimes Russia is committing right under the eyes of the entire world. Participants stressed that the international community bears direct responsibility for what is happening against civilians because of its long silence about those crimes that have been ongoing on for nine years.
The participants reviewed the local and international human rights documents and reports confirming the involvement of Russia and the Assad regime in widespread crimes, such as targeting civilians and vital facilities such as homes, mosques, schools, medical centers, relief convoys, ambulances, and humanitarian workers.
Tabled for discussion was also the issue of detainees and enforced disappearance. The participants stressed that this issue is one of the most important issues that the international community should deal with in all seriousness by establishing a mechanism to ensure the release of detainees and disclose the fate of the missing.
Coordinator of the Department, Abdulahad Astepho, held another meeting with the political Syria advisor at the French Foreign Ministry, Fabrice Desplechin and discussed with him the dangerous situation in rural Aleppo and Idlib.
Astepho stressed that the international community has so far failed to fulfill its legal and moral obligations towards Syrian civilians or towards the implementation of international resolutions on Syria, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Resolution 2254 calling for a ceasefire and engagement in a political process in order to achieve democratic transition in the country.
Astepho went on to say that the areas that long fell to the Assad regime are going through a dire situation. He said that these areas has not stabilized due to the crimes of the regime as security forces and intelligence services continued the execution and arrests against civilians. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition condemned the brutal all-out onslaught being launched by the Russian and Iranian occupation as well as the Assad regime forces on rural Aleppo. It said that the intensifying assault has triggered a major humanitarian catastrophe over the past few hours and led to more killing, destruction, and displacement.
In a press release issued on Monday, the Coalition said: “The international community, the UN Security Council, international organizations, and Arab and friendly states have a responsibility to protect civilians. Today they are facing a moral, humanitarian, and legal challenge before their people in the first place and all peoples who demand freedom and justice.”
The Coalition went on to say that “limiting the response to the expression of concern in the face of a catastrophe of this magnitude is anything but a responsible behavior nor does it reflect any human or moral values, especially since there is already something that can be done to spare hundreds of thousands of civilians death and displacement.”
“The Syrian people will not forget the states that stood by their side in their battle against oppression and tyranny, nor will they forget those who have committed the most heinous crimes against them and remained silent about the atrocities they are enduring. The Syrian people will not give up until Syria is fully liberated from the Russian and Iranian occupation and the authoritarian regime.”
The Coalition renewed its calls on the international community to establish an international mechanism ensuring an immediate end to the criminal assault on Aleppo and Idlib provinces as well as to urgently provide the displaced people with badly needed humanitarian aid. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Coordinator of the Syrian National Coalition’s office in northern rural Aleppo, Ahmed al-Shehadi, participated in a workshop organized by the Ministry of Local Administration and Services of the Syrian Interim Government to develop the work of local councils.
The workshop, which was held under the title ‘the reality of the regulations governing local administration and its development,’ was held at the Ministry's office in Afrin and brought together representatives of the provincial councils and sub-councils.
The workshop focused on the executive regulations set out in the bylaws of the local councils under the current circumstances. The participants discussed the reality of local councils across the freed territories as well as the difficulties and challenges facing their work in the coming period.
The participants touched on how to amend the internal regulations to suit the current reality as they put forward a set of results and recommendations that will be circulated to all regions and councils. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Supreme Hajj Committee held a technical meeting with officials in the Turkish Foreign Ministry to discuss a mechanism for the transit of Syrian pilgrims from the liberated areas through the Turkish border crossings to the holy sites in Saudi Arabia. The meeting was attended by Secretary-General Abdel Baset Abdel Latif.
The meeting also brought together Salim Al-Khatib, member of the Committee, deputy directors of Hajj Abdul Khaleq Darwish and Muhammad Al-Araj, and director of the Committee’s office in Gaziantep Abdul Ilah Abdo.
Abdel Latif thanked Turkey for its firm stances in defending the Syrian people and their cause as well as for providing facilitations for all Syrians, including Syrian pilgrims. He expressed the hope that these facilitations will continue for the eighth consecutive year.
The Committee begun the reception of applications for the Hajj pilgrimage for the 2020 season (1441 Hijri) in early January. Registration ended on February 13.
Established by the Coalition, the Committee provides its services for the eighth consecutive year to all Syrian citizens wishing to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian National Coalition said that Syrian refugees in northwestern Syria and in Lebanon, especially in the camps in and around the town of Arsal, are facing increased suffering as a result of the severe shortages in heating fuel and foodstuffs. The suffering of the Syrian refugees in Arsal has also been compounded by the absence of effective measures to assist them.
In a press release issued on Friday, the Coalition said that more than nine people died in the IDP camps as a result of the severe cold in the past two weeks, while more people are fleeing their homes in Idlib and Aleppo provinces.
According to a report the Syrian Network for Human Rights released on Thursday, no fewer than 167 Syrian civilians, including 77 children, have died from the cold since March 2011.
The Coalition said that “tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in camps near Arsal are already suffering extremely dire living conditions. They need emergency support to cope with these harsh conditions as well as sustainable support ensuring the basic requirements for a decent, dignified life.”
“Despite the harsh circumstances, and despite the fact that their homes and lands are only a few kilometers away, Syrian refugees in Arsal prefer to endure these difficulties than to return to live under the regime of tyranny and terrorism. They are waiting for the appropriate conditions for the safe, dignified and honorable return to a homeland ensuring their freedom and basic rights.”
The Coalition called upon the Lebanese authorities, the international community, and the international and relief organizations take swift action to relieve Syrian refugees in Arsal and the rest of the affected areas, especially through the provision of heating fuel, relief aid, and medical aid as quickly as possible. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)
Coordinator of the Syrian National Coalition’s Office in northern rural Aleppo, Ahmed Al-Shehadi, toured several IDP camps in rural Aleppo, which is home to large number of displaced persons. He was accompanied by activists of the Rahmat aid group.
Al-Shehadi ascertained the living conditions in the camps and services facilities. He spoke to residents of these camps and listened to their most urgent needs, especially heating equipment to cope with the severe cold wave and snow that has recently gripped the region.
Moreover, Al-Shehadi talked about the latest political developments and the campaign the Coalition has launched at the international, Arab, and Islamic levels with the aim of bringing an end to the Assad regime’s and Russia’s onslaught on Idlib and southwestern rural Aleppo.
He also stressed the role of the Syrian National Army in fending off the fierce assault being launched by Russia, the Assad regime and Iranian militias on the region. He emphasized the ability of the SNA fighters to confront this assault and regain the areas they had lost in Idlib. (Source: Syrian National Coalition’s Media Department)