Coalition Response to Lavrov: Geneva II must Not be an Attempt to Divert Responsibility
Secretary General of the Syrian National Coalition, Badr al-Din Jamous, stated that ” we reject Russia’s statements as well as the international insistence on holding Geneva II despite the absence of the requirements for its success, as was admitted by the Russians, which is aimed at discharging the responsibility of the international community as a whole and transferring it to anyone who refuses to go to Geneva II.” Jamous’ statement came in response to remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who said that “both the regime and the National Coalition should not miss the opportunity to meet in Moscow regardless of the possibility of lack of success.” Jamous’ statement was also a…Read more
Interim Government to Be Based Temporarily In Gaziantep The interim government headed by Ahmad Tohme will be “temporarily stationed “in Gaziantep, Turkey near the Syrian border until it moves completely into Syria. In its next meeting, the General Assembly of the Syrian National Coalition is going to elect three candidates to fill three additional portfolios; “Health, Education, and Ministry of the Interior.” Ahmad Tomah, the head of the interim government, stated earlier that the initial work of the government is based on three key points: “human rights, security and construction.” Tomah added that “achieving civil peace, and ensuring that the needs of Syrian citizens are met, are the foremost tasks of the interim government.” Tomah stressed that “economic, social, and food security, as well as addressing the people’s psychological needs, are the interim government’s top priorities. He also stressed that his government will work on overcoming “the obstacles standing in the way of victory for the Syrian Revolution.” Tomah added that “the role of the local councils will be activated and will be made the core foundation for the establishment of a culture of democracy.” Tomah pointed out that “the interim government developed security plans, in coordination with the Ministry of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff, to achieve security and impose order inside the cities.” Furthermore, he stated that “the Ministry of Justice will work to achieve justice and restore rights to citizens through the creation of a suitable environment for an independent, transparent and impartiality judiciary.” The Prime Minister confirmed that the Ministry of Education will shape educational policy and oversee the operational plans for providing education to all Syrians, according to scientific educational curricula that meets the needs of the community in the construction of its cadres.” As for health, the Prime Minister promised the wounded to be “at the top of the list of concerns of the Ministry of Health by providing necessary medical and health care according to national priorities.” (Source: Syrian Coalition)
President of the National Kurdish Bloc Warns of Sectarian Nature of the YPD Fawaz al Nasser, head of the Kurdish National Bloc in Syria, warned of the sectarian nature of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (YPD), stating that ”the party’s sectarian nature has overshadowed the national dimension due to its links with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Iran, and Maliki’s government of Iraq.” Nasser added that “the leaders of the Turkish Democratic Union Party are Turkish Alawites who took advantage of the Syrian Kurdish youth’s zealousness in the past to join the Kurdish combat troops in Turkey.” The chairman of the Kurdish National Bloc unveiled the regime’s plans to ignite ethnic strife between Arabs and Kurds, as well as to create sectarian rifts between Kurds themselves who are Alawites and Sunnis” .He also pointed out that the Democratic Union Party, which recently announced the formation of a civilian administration to conduct the affairs of areas with Kurdish majority, receives financial funding and weapons from the Assad regime and the Government of the mullahs in Iran. “We refused, as independents, from the outset to take up arms, but today we have started acquiring armaments at the individual level to counter the efforts of the regime in creating strife between Arabs and Kurds and the Kurds themselves,” Nasser stressed. He also stressed that the National Kurdish Bloc is trying by all ways and means to extinguish the strife with reason and logic and dialogue, but noted that this needs to be accompanied by the threat to use force. He pointed out that his Bloc started talks with Arab and Gulf parties for weapons and money supplies to stand in the face of the hardline Arabs and Kurds in order to get out of the crisis with minimal losses. Nasser predicted that the Democratic Union Party will launch attacks against the National Kurdish Bloc and its supporters and begin to liquidate Kurdish figures. “To sit with officials of PYD is possible, provided that there is no blood on their hands,” he said. He added that “we asked the Arabs for financial funding, weapons and the answer was to wait a bit.” He stressed that they expect the Bloc will feel obliged to take up arms according to future developments. President of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, had earlier rejected the announcement of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) of the establishment of a transitional administration in the Kurdish-majority areas in northeastern Syria. Barzani accused the PYD of “cooperation with the Assad regime to implicate Syria’s Kurds in the ongoing war in Syria” adding that “the Kurds have been neutral since the beginning of the revolution and that they have been dedicating their efforts towards getting their national rights and democracy.” Furthermore, Mohamed Khair Banco, a member of the Kurdish National Council, considers the timing of PYD’s announcement as “inappropriate and can be seen as backlash to the Kurdish National Council joining the Syrian Coalition.” Banco stressed that “the problem is not in the declaration of the transitional government, but the backlash of the Kurdish National Council joining under the umbrella of the Syrian Coalition.” Banco added that” the declaration of the PYD’s transitional administration is not an intention to secede, but created for the purpose of filling the security and administrative vacuum experienced in the region.” The Syrian Coalition, however, viewed the PYD’s move as “separatist,” adding that this unilateral decision is completely detached from the aspirations of the Syrian people seeking to build a unified, independent state. The Syrian Coalition sees the PYD as “anti-revolution and a main supporter of the Assad regime.” Barzani added that “the PYD tried by force, and through cooperation with the Assad regime, to impose its agenda, claiming that they stand behind the spark that ignited the revolution, but a revolution against whom? The regime deliberately handed them the areas they currently occupy, and the PYD unilaterally ruled these areas abandoned by Assad, taking advantage of the Erbil Agreement and the support they get from the Assad regime. We see this is as a dangerous game for the future of our people there, because the PYD did not stop with seizing the areas northeast of Syria, but began to kill and arrest members of other parties.” The Syrian Coalition consistently points out that there are “links between the PYD and external agendas” and condemned “the PYD’s repeated repressive practices through its military wing and its attacks on the freedoms of Arab and Kurdish citizens over the past months.” The Syrian Coalition also rejected the “PYD’s resorting to the use of power in dealing with civilians, and fighting battalions and brigades of the Free Syrian Army.” The Syrian Coalition expressed dismay that the PYD “stopped fighting the regime on several fronts and moved to strengthen its positions within the liberated areas.” Meanwhile, the U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, said that his country supports the unity of Syria, and that the Assad regime is the root of the problem in the injustice exerted on the Kurds in Syria, saying that “the Kurdish issues are constitutional issues and must be negotiated by all Syrians, and they cannot be solved through unilateral actions. Ford also expressed hope that the Kurds remember that “it is better to focus on the success of the revolution and the success of the moderates and then resolve the constitutional issues at a later time.” (Source: Syrian Coalition + Al Sharq al Awsat)
Air Raids on Damascus Neighborhoods, Regime Losses in Al Nabak A civilian was killed and others injured by an air raid on the district of Jobar in Damascus. The neighborhoods of Taddamon, Barzeh and Yarmouk camp also came under artillery bombardment by regime forces that caused civilian casualties and destroyed a number of houses. Regime forces also shelled the districts of Darya, Madaya, Biqqin and Almqilbah in rural Damascus with artillery and machine guns. In addition, regime’s missile targeted the towns of Babila and Beit Sahem in rural Damascus. Nine peole were killed and dozens injured by Assad’s tank fire that targeted the town of Qara in al Qalamoun. Or their part, the Free Syrian Army inflicted losses on regime forces by destroying two tanks and two trucks loaded with DShKs heavy machine guns at Nabek Bridge during violent clashes on the Homs-Damascus highway. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Local Coordination Committers)
Assad’s Forces Commit New Massacre West of Homs Assad’s forces massacred 40 civilians, mostly children and women in the village of Wadi al Mawla near the city of Tal Kalakh in Homs. According to activists, forces loyal to Bashar al Assad stabbed two civilians to death after they stormed the town. Assad’s forces carried out an artillery bombardment on the village before storming it and implementing a campaign of executions and arbitrary arrests. This comes in a series of massacres committed by the Assad regime in rural Homs against civilians. Meanwhile, regime forces shelled the neighborhood of Jouret Shiah in Homs and the town of Aion in northern Homs with artillery and mortar rounds which caused civilian casualties and destroyed many civilian homes. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Local Coordination Committers)
Assad Loyalists Stab Children to Death in Rural Hama Forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad committed an appalling massacre in the village of Kaoukab in rural Hama when they stabbed ten civilians to death, including children. Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army made remarkable progress against regime forces in the province of Hama, where more than 25 regime soldiers were killed at a checkpoint in the village of Jalama in rural Hama. Furthermore, seven other Assad soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Morek north of Hama.
FSA Destroys Three Helicopters in Neirab Airbase in Aleppo and in Al Raqqa The Free Syrian Army destroyed two helicopters belonging to the Assad regime in Nairab airbase in rural Aleppo, as well as shot down another one from Tabaqqa airbase near Alraqqa city. Meanwhile, Assad forces launched air raids on the neighborhoods of Karm al Jabal and Sakhour and on the outskirts of Hanano barracks in Aleppo. In addition, regime tanks shelled Bustan al Qaser and Jisr al Haj in Aleppo, which caused civilian casualties and material damage. Two children were killed by tank shelling on their house in al Mashad in Aleppo. Another three civilians were killed when their car was hit by a warplane rocket on the Damascus-Aleppo highway near the town of Saraqeb. In another development, “Aleppo’s Clergy Front” called on the faithful who belong to Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) to leave their positions and join the Free Syrian Army in fighting against the forces of the Assad regime. “Based on the crimes committed by ISIS during the period of only six months of its work in Syria, we call on the true mujahideen to abandon this group and repudiate its criminal acts and join the faithful factions that are fighting Assad’s gangs,” the Front said in a statement. (Source: Syrian Collation + Smart News Agency)
Ongoing Bombardment on Dara’a Regime forces renewed shelling with heavy artillery on Manshia in Daraa Al Balad, and on the towns of Um al Maiathen and Nae’ma in rural Dara’a, alongside violent clashes between the FSA and regime forces. Moreover, regime forces stationed in “52” Brigade pounded the towns of al Hirak and Nahteh with heavy artillery. Meanwhile, a number of civilians were injured by mortar rounds that fell on the town of Daa’l in rural Dara’a. (Source: Smart News Agency + Local Coordination Committees)
Russian Mercenaries Support Assad Sources have reported that Russian intelligence is questioning two executives of a major company that was accused of recruiting mercenaries to fight alongside the Assad regime. Reports say that the oversees project name is “Slavonic Corps,” or the Army of the Slavs. It was supposed to send about 2,000 troops to Syria, but sent about 250 soldiers only, ten of them from the city of St. Petersburg., The Russian newspaper Fontanka published an investigation that included interviews with two Russian soldiers who returned from Syria and claimed that the company was funded by a rich Syrian man who works for Assad. The soldiers expressed indignation for not getting what they were promised; sums of money estimated at about $ 5,000 per month or $ 20,000 until the end of service, or $ 40,000 if they were killed. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Fontanka Newspaper)
Britain Criticizes PYD’s Announcement of Local Administration British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa Hugh Robertson said that the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) announcement of the establishment of an interim administration in the Kurdish areas is “alarming.” Robertson called on the PYD to give clarifications as to whether the group is part of what he called the “opposition” and not linked to the Assad regime, and provide proof that it “is committed to pluralism and respect for other political forces in the Kurdish areas, and is ready to cooperate with the National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.” The British Minister also called on the PYD “to work towards a political solution to the conflict in Syria on the basis of the Geneva Communique.“ He also urged all Kurds “to be part of a national dialogue on the legitimate demands of the Syrian people for change.” Robertson welcomed the National Coalition’s forming of an interim government headed by Ahmad Tohme and said that the United Kingdom “will work closely with this government to support its efforts in Syria.” He also welcomed the merger of the Kurdish National Council with the Syrian National Coalition. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Al Haiyat)
Suleiman: We May See a Return to a Military Solution in Syria Lebanese President Michel Suleiman warned that the next phase of looking for a solution to the Syrian crisis might include a return to the adoption of a military solution. Suleiman said: “The coming months may carry significant developments and there may be diplomatic solutions to the issue of the Syrian via Geneva II and what follows.” He added that “there could also be a deterioration and decline of the international scene, and we might see a return to the military solution in Syria and this is not what we wish to see.” (Source: Syrian Coalition + Al Haiyat)
Preserving independence and national sovereignty and maintaining the Syrian people's unity within the same Syrian soil is one of the critical pillars of the Syrian Coalition. The Coalition aims to overthrow the Assad regime along with all its symbols and pillars. It also aims to dismantle its security apparatus and hold accountable those involved in crimes against Syrians. In addition, it seeks to achieve a transition to a pluralistic, democratic and civil Syria.