The Syrian Opposition Coalition’s (SOC) Department of Foreign Relations held a series of teleconferences with foreign officials of the US, Great Britain, Germany, France, and Turkey to discuss ways to expedite the implementation of the plan agreed on between the Syrian Interim Government and the World Health Organization.
Participants in the conferences included SIG’s Minister of Health, Maram Al-Sheikh and Head of the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU), Muhammad Hassnou.
The move came as part of the emergency plan the SOC and ACU developed to prevent an outbreak of the coronavirus in Syria, especially in the liberated areas.
Al-Sheikh talked about the reality of health situation in the liberated areas and the tests that were conducted on dozens of suspected cases. He said that all the cases tested negative for the virus, noting that the liberated areas are void of any infection with the coronavirus.
Al-Sheikh warned of the possible consequences of the spread of the virus in the liberated areas, home to about five million people, many of whom live in IDP camps amid dire humanitarian conditions that prevent measures of social distancing and isolation.
Moreover, Al-Sheikh gave an explanation on the plan agreed on with the World Health Organization and the needs outlined in the plan, especially support for the medical sector which has been subjected to systematic bombardment by Russia and the Assad regime over the past few years. He stressed the need to provide food aid, clean water and basic hygiene supplies.
SOC’s Vice-president, Dima Moussa, talked about the importance of the immediate release of detainees from the prisons of the Assad regime, especially as the conditions in these prisons risk the rapid, horrific outbreak of the coronavirus.
Hadi Al-Bahra, Co-chair of the Constitutional Committee, talked about the Syrian prisoners in Roumieh prison in Lebanon. He said that more than 1,200 Syrian prisoners are held in dire conditions with poor hygiene as he called for their release.
Al-Bahra gave an overview on the latest developments in the work of the Constitutional Committee, pointing out that there are efforts to hold the upcoming round, which was announced by the UN envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, via video links. (Source: SOC’s Media Department)
The Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) reaffirmed that no one will be absolved of the responsibility for the chemical attack the Assad regime carried out against the town of Douma in the Damascus suburbs in 2018. It stressed that “no one will be absolved of the responsibility for the crime, be it those who were involved in the implementation, planning, or covering it, nor will the international community be absolved of the responsibility to hold accountable those responsible.”
In a press release issued on Tuesday to mark the second anniversary of the chemical attack which took place on April 7, 2018, the SOC reaffirmed the responsibility of the international community for holding accountable those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
“The continued international failure in this context represents a grave threat to international peace and security and will have dire consequences for decades to come. It is imperative, therefore, that the major state actors assume their responsibilities in this regard, both individually and collectively.”
The SOC went on to say that “Russia’s obstruction of justice in this issue should not absolve the rest of the parties from assuming their responsibilities, especially as the threat continues to exist.”
“The crime of using chemical weapons in Syria is inseparable from the rest of the crimes involving the use of other types of weapons. The Assad regime continues with the killing, besiegement, detention, and tortures of Syrians by conventional and non-conventional means,” add the SOC.
Moreover, the SOC said that “the Syrian people have the right to demand the enforcement of the law on everyone. The international community should shoulder its responsibilities with regards to the war crimes and crimes against humanity taking place in Syria as well as the violations of international treaties that prohibit and criminalize the use of chemical weapons. The UN Security Council must also assume its responsibility to enforce its resolutions in this regard, chief among them is resolution 2118.”
It also reaffirmed “the importance of activating Article 21 of Resolution 2118 regarding the taking of concrete measures against the Assad regime under Chapter VII. The Douma chemical attack opens the door for this crucial step.” (Source: SOC’s Media Department)
The Minister of Education in the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), Huda Al-Absi, said that schools, institutes, and universities in the liberated areas have started using online education system in line with instructions from the Ministry of Health and the decision by SIG’s Head Abdurrahman Mustafa. The step came as one of several measures SIG is taking to prevent outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Al-Absi said that the Ministry has instructed education officials in the liberated areas to move from classroom learning to online learning and to take the appropriate measures for the benefit of students.
She pointed out that school principals created virtual classrooms on mobile applications, with each room made up of the school principal, the instructor, as well as the parents of students. She added that the teachers are either giving virtual lessons or recording lessons and sending them to the virtual classrooms at a predefined time. The teacher would then respond to questions by students and elaborate on the ideas that need further explanation and clarification.
With regard to universities, Al-Absi pointed out that professors are recording lectures and sharing them with students via online platforms and mobile applications.
Al-Absi indicated that the Ministry has recently agreed with the Digital School to use educational videos and air them on the Aleppo Today TV channel. (Source: SOC’s Media Department)